Falklands : Report on the meeting of Executive Council held on Wednesday 25 June 2014
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 28.06.2014 (Article Archived on 16.08.2014)
Under matters arising from the previous meeting held on 3 June 2014 Members noted that another paper was to come to the next meeting of ExCo in July to address the need for additional classrooms at the I/J School.
Report on the meeting of Executive Council held on Wednesday 25 June 2014
Members in Attendance: MLA Elsby, MLA Rendell and MLA Poole
Under matters arising from the previous meeting held on 3 June 2014 Members noted that another paper was to come to the next meeting of ExCo in July to address the need for additional classrooms at the I/J School. MLA Elsby has reported on the matter after the last meeting but because the matter concerns a lot of people in the community it was thought that we should report again that action will be taken to consider the provision of additional classroom space after all possibilities have been thoroughly explored.
The first paper on the agenda was related to the outsourcing of the Post Office and Philatelic Bureau. Several papers have been before ExCo on the matter and MLAs have not taken their decision lightly to agree to outsource these services. Dr Andrea Clausen’s bid was successful and her company aims to take on the service from 1 August or a date soon after that, depending on the necessary paperwork being completed. Outsourcing is acknowledged to be a stressful time for people working in the service and all MLAs wish to thank the staff at the Post Office and Philatelic Bureau for their hard work during this uncertain period.
Next, Members addressed a paper on the need to upgrade fire appliances at Stanley Airport to enable the oil industry to operate from there. New appliances are needed if the helicopters servicing the 2015 exploration drilling phase are to operate out of Stanley. Premier Oil have indicated that they wish to use Stanley Airport so MLAs agreed that two Category 3 airport appliances be purchased and the General Manager, Aviation Services, will the responsible for their purchase. MLAs stressed that FIG should work closely with the oil industry to ensure that this major commitment to purchase the equipment is being made in order that the oil industry will use Stanley Airport for helicopter movements during their Exploration drilling programme. It is expected that this would, lead on to continued use of Stanley Airport in a development programme.
MLAs next considered a paper on the use of the Camber by Fortuna Limited for the laydown of fishing vessels. MLAs were unanimous in their decision to reject the recommendation in the paper, which was not to agree the lease of the land to Fortuna as it was considered contrary to current FIG policy to focus on Port William for port development. Members felt that the fishing industry should not be hampered by decisions yet to be made on a new port and that initiatives to add value to the fishing industry should be supported. It was agreed that FIG would enter into lease terms with Fortuna and that the company’s plans would need to be subject to relevant lease and planning approvals.
A paper from PWD set out the details of a strategy for letting longer contracts for Camp road improvements. Budget Select Committee had approved the funding in principle and ExCo approval was needed to release those funds in the proposed manner. The proposals were considered at the last meeting of TAC and were strongly supported by members. ExCo approved tendering a 3 year contract for haulage of capping materials for the MPA road, a 4 year contract for haulage of material for the North Camp road rebuild, a 3 year contract to cover work to the B category, North Arm road and lastly, tendering of a 5 year contract to cover work to the A category road, Fox Bay to Port Howard. Other works to be carried out by PWD such as a rebuild at Wall Stream on West Falkland are also in the programme. It is hoped that contractors will bid for these major pieces of work that now give security of income over a number of years that should enable plant and machinery to be purchased.
Members agreed a capital works and equipment programme for the Hospital for 2014-19 which includes the purchase of new X-Ray equipment, new machinery for the laboratory and a considerable amount of internal building works in the next financial year.
ExCo agreed to a recommendation to purchase the property at 12 St Mary’s Walk next to the hospital parking area. The property is in a location that would suit further expansion of the hospital area. Meanwhile it will be included in the Government’s housing pool for rent. Funds have been found from within the current budget, thus not impacting housing plans elsewhere.
A very lengthy paper on immigration reform was addressed next. The paper reports on the consultation carried out last year on possible changes to our immigration system. Members agreed that the entire paper should be made public as well as the decisions made at ExCo. Members did not support a specific immigration route for business/investors, or a review of policies regarding land and property ownership by migrants. It was agreed that further work on the other recommendations in the paper should be undertaken to fully understand the impact of making those changes. They include issuing work permits for up to 4 years in some cases, and ensuring that those seeking Falkland Status need PRP first.
A paper requesting additional funds to carry out a skills and training needs analysis was agreed. These funds will be released from the Economic Development Strategy Reserve to be added to Government House discretionary development funds, to enable the work to proceed. Members asked that a non-government representative be added to the Steering Group that will have oversight of the project.
FIG’s third quarter performance management report was noted by ExCo. More targets were being met by departments which was encouraging.
It was agreed that Mazars LLP should be re-appointed as FIG’s external auditors for the next three financial years following a tendering process. This includes auditing statutory and non-statutory bodies; FIDC, FLH, FIMCo, FITB, FIM&NT and the Media Trust.
An updated list of approved mental health practitioners under the Mental Health Ordinance was approved and Members asked that this be done as a matter of course, annually.
Lastly, Members agreed FIG’s response to the Public Accounts Committee following the Internal Audit on the Payroll in 2013 and was addressed in Legislative Assembly the following day. Members asked for more a detailed report on the changes being made with payroll procedures by the end of the year.
28 June 2014