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Falklands : LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY 04 JUNE 2014 Part 2: Regular Business
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 14.06.2014 (Article Archived on 16.08.2014)

The first budget session of Legislative Assembly for 2014 took place in the court and Assembly Chamber of the Town Hall at 0900hrs on Wednesday, 04 June 2014.

LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY 04 JUNE 2014
(Part 2: Regular Business)

The first budget session of Legislative Assembly for 2014 took place in the court and Assembly Chamber of the Town Hall at 0900hrs on Wednesday, 04 June 2014. The first order of business was the Governor’s Address to the Nation and the Motion of Thanks Speeches that followed, for which H. E. the Governor Mr Colin Roberts remained.

MLAs present were: the Hon Mrs Jan Cheek, the Hon Mr Roger Edwards, Dr the Honourable Barry Elsby, the Hon Mr Ian Hansen, the Hon Mr Michael Poole, the Hon Mrs Phyl Rendell, the Hon Mr Gavin Short and the Hon Mr Mike Summers. Also present were the Speaker, the Hon Mr Keith Biles, the Financial Secretary, the Hon Mrs Nicola Granger, the Clerk of Council, the Hon Mrs Cherie Clifford, the Chief Executive, the Hon Mr Keith Padgett and the Acting Attorney General, the Hon Miss Ros Cheek.

Motion No 11/ 2014 by the Hon Mr Mike Summers, MLA, OBE
This House supports the provision of certain provisions of the Road Traffic Ordinance to all roads in the Falkland Island; the provisions to be agreed by members might include those which deal with basic road safety, insurance protection for 3rd party and the construction and use of vehicles.

Proposal by the Honourable Mike Summers, MLA, OBE

Mr Speaker, Honourable members, I bring this Motion to the House for the purpose of clarifying whether members wish this to be pursued as a matter of policy. It was a policy of the previous government that certain provisions of the Road Traffic ordinance should be applied to roads in Camp. It is not clear whether that remains the case and the discussion here might clarify that for us.

The issue of applying the Road Traffic Ordinance in Camp has been going on for years and years and years and years. And no resolution has been found and I think the principal reason for that was there was an attempt to apply the Road Traffic Ordinance in whole to roads in Camp through designation of roads but that turns out not to be a satisfactory mechanism. It simply won’t work for all sorts of reasons that Members will know about.

I proposed quite some time ago in a Farmers Week saying, why not just provide the key provisions of the Road Traffic Ordinance to Camp Roads rather than trying to pursue this route of designation and I think that it has taken root. And so the debate between members has to be whether it is right for basic safety provisions to apply to all roads rules out wearing seatbelts which applies to all roads being mirrored by provisions to apply the rules on the consumption of alcohol to all roads – certainly the construction and use of vehicles and the protection of 3rd party.

So the purpose of introducing this Motion to the House is to determine the views of members as to whether we should have this on the policy task status report or task list provided for the government or not.

This Motion was Seconded by the Hon Mr Gavin Short, MLA

Mr Speaker, I wish to second the Motion and also just to reflect what my honourable colleague has said before me. This has rumbled on for years and I think this is the time to sort it out once and for all if there is a feeling to go ahead with basic safety laws covering vehicle safety, etc and I would like to see it done within the lifetime of this sitting. I think, from my personal point of view, I think it can be done, should be done but done in a sensible way that isn’t going to wreck Camp life or put unsustainable financial burdens on those in Camp.

RE: Mr Speaker, Honourable Colleagues, I am sure you all are well aware of my dislike and my feeling towards Road Designation. I do not support Road Designation across Camp, particularly as long as the tracks remain in the state they are at the moment.

MS: Mr Speaker, Road Designation is not proposed.

RE: I appreciate that but I am leading in to the fact that some legislation has already been introduced in Camp like the wearing of seat belts. I supported that and thought it was very sensible. I am sure that some aspects of the Road Traffic Ordinance could be introduced into Camp to the benefit of all but I would urge that this needs and requires a huge amount of input by those of us who live and work in Camp.

JC: Mr Speaker, Honourable members, I support the Motion and have long supported the common sense application of those aspects of Road Traffic Law that relate to safety and insurance issues and they become more important as we have more and more tourists driving around our Islands.
I support the Motion.

PR: Mr Speaker, I support this Motion. I remember the very heated discussions around Farmers’ Week last year. I wasn’t a member of the Government on this issue and I think that those heated comments were very much directed at road designation and the need then for vehicles to be licenced. And that would be considerably onerous on farmers with multiple vehicles, when all they want to do is cross the road or drive a few hundred yards down it to access parts of their land. After all, roads go through their land. So I think that was the problem for us last year when those issues completely dominated the discussion.

But I support this Motion because I feel that we have to take steps to look at 3rd party insurance. And (from) speaking to people on the West, I know they are concerned about that with tour driving and so on and also I think we need to look at conditions of vehicles and so on.

So I would support further work on this but I would want to see it coming back to MLAs – just what might possibly be included in that list. And I notice the word “might” in the Motion – what might be included on it. I think we need to look carefully at what would be included in any future regulations.

I support the Motion.

MP: Thank you Mr Speaker. Like a number of my colleagues here I come at this issue from the prospective of trying to mitigate risk in that nobody wants to unnecessarily add costs or reduce personal freedoms across the Islands. Intuitively it feels like there is some less risk in Camp in terms of Road Traffic Issues. I think we can afford to pick and choose key positions that we may wish to apply across the Islands generally including the make-up of this motion suggests to be discussed. They will need further thought and more evidence and base decision-making.

It is certainly an important issue that is worthy united to the policy task list for the next year so therefore Mr Speaker, I support the Motion.

IH: Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, I support this Motion with the same provisions that the Honourable Phyl Rendell mentioned that I have no issue at all either in the discussion as long as the wording of the Motion is followed to the letter. In as much as it might include – as we just have to sit down and discuss between ourselves and as the Honourable Roger Edwards said, we must consult with those people it is going to affect.

I think a way forward on this is the removal of the word “designation” because that was always the stumbling block. For many years I recalled what was going on and as soon as the word, designation was mentioned it just came to a halt. And there was the mind-set many years ago that because the mistake had been made in designating some roads, the only way forward was to treble that mistake and designate them all. I am pleased to find that we have got past that.

The Honourable Phyl Rendell also mentioned the issue of licensing and taxes and later on today or tomorrow I intend to ask my colleagues to at the very least support that there be no increase this year in vehicle tax and perhaps even set it at zero.

Mr Speaker, I support the Motion.

BE: Mr Speaker, Honourable members, I will be brief. I think everyone has said the same thing. All support this in principle and I think it is a logical thing to do. I don’t think it is an infringement on people’s liberties. I don’t think it will impinge on lifestyles lived in Camp. Something has to be done. We cannot have a situation where a drunken driver in Camp will cause the death of someone else in Camp and will face no sanction. That is not right. We must take action to change that sort of thing,

I support the Motion.

MS: Mr Speaker, thank you. In winding up I am happy to hear there is a large consensus amongst Members and we can take this forward. The issues to be addressed clearly will be issues about lifestyle, tax and licensing. I think it was the attempt to impose taxation and licencing that exist in Stanley and not in Camp that caused most of the problems. But there is an issue about the safety of third parties and about the requirement for insurance.

So the process from here on in as I understand it will be that this will go on the Policy Task Status Report. The content of what is to be applied will be debated by Members probably as a matter of policy before going to legislation and it will finally have to be agreed in this House.

Thank you.

KB: The Motion before this House is that This House supports the provision of certain provisions of the Road Traffic Ordinance to all roads in the Falkland Islands; the provisions to be agreed by members might include those which deal with basic road safety, insurance protection for 3rd party and the construction and use of vehicles.

The Motion Passed.

Supplementary Appropriation 2013/2014 Bill 2014:

The Bill had not been Gazetted and required a first reading. The Financial Secretary made the Motion and the Honourable Mr Roger Edwards seconded the Motion. After the first reading the financial Secretary gave her explanation.

NG: Mr Speaker, Honourable members, the Supplementary Appropriation 2013/2014 Bill 2014 has been presented for the current Financial Year. Its purpose is to authorise the withdrawal of the Additional sum of £11 Million from the Consolidated Fund to meet supplementary expenditure recommended by the Budget Select Committee on the 22 May 2014.

The supplementary expenditure relates to one item – an additional transfer to the Capital Equalisation Fund in order to support an increased Capital programme in the next financial year.

Current funding in the Capital Equalisation Fund is sufficient for the needs of existing programme. It would not allow Budget Select committee to re-prioritise funding for additional infrastructure schemes.

This transfer effectively seeks to re-prioritise some of the surpluses received in the current and recent years towards investing and infrastructure.

I beg to move that the Bill be read a second time.

The Honourable Mr Roger Edwards seconded the Motion, after which the Bill was fast tracked, received a third reading and passed.

The Appropriation Bill 2014:

This Bill had not been Gazetted and required a first reading. The Financial Secretary proposed the Bill and the Chief Executive, Mr Keith Padgett seconded the Motion. After the Bill was read for the first time Mrs Nicola Granger made a presentation which clients received on 04 June.

The Chief Executive seconded the Motion to read the Bill a second time

MS: Mr Speaker, Honourable Members this has been quite a long budget process and I think many of us have reflected on regular occasions about whether it is the right way to be setting a budget but we will come back to that in due course. We have had to be incredibly cautious about operating budget commitments because as the Financial Secretary has indicated in the past there have been substantial windfalls in a number of areas. The recurrent revenue to the Falkland Islands has not increased substantially so that gives us an opportunity to commit monies to Capital expenditure that are additional to what had previously been available to us. But we have to be incredibly restrictive about Operating expenditure.

There are a number of areas about which we would have wanted to have services or reduced the requirement for user pays or reduce the charges we have to make but that hasn’t been possible and I don’t think it is likely to be possible for at least the next two or three years. So it is important that we help people understand that expectation as a result of hydrocarbons exploration has to be tempered. It has to be held back because we don’t have huge amounts of income from hydrocarbons at the moment and we are not likely to have for another 3 or 4 years.

Having said all of that, I wholeheartedly support the principles that we have adopted for this budget strategy. There are one or two things that you inevitably end up not liking. I don’t like the fact that we still have MST for employers and we will have a discussion about that I am sure in Budget Select Committee in the next Day or so.

But otherwise I think the strategy we proposed to adopt is the right one for the Falklands going forward. It is optimistic and there is a significant amount of Capital Expenditure proposed which will have a real stimulating effect on the private sector of the Falklands and generate future taxation revenues and the like which are more difficult to predict.

So I am content with the strategy.

At this stage the Bill and the Draft Estimates were referred to the Budget Select Committee on the Estimates.

The Capital Appropriation Bill 2014:

This Bill had not been Gazetted and required a first reading.

Nicola Granger red the Bill and the content of this Bill had been distributed to Clients. The Chief Executive Seconded the Motion for a second reading and proposed that the Bill be referred to the Budget Select Committee on the Estimates.

The Finance Bill 2014:

This Bill had not been Gazetted and required a first reading.

Nicola Granger red the Bill and the content of this Bill had been distributed to Clients. The Chief Executive Seconded the Motion for a second reading and proposed that the Bill be referred to the Budget Select Committee on the Estimates.

 

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