Falklands : Nearly There: FCO to Receive Draft Constitution
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 06.02.2007 (Article Archived on 20.02.2007)
The Falklands will have a new constitution sooner rather than later if Cllr. Mike Summers has anything to do with it.
NEARLY THERE: FCO TO RECEIVE DRAFT CONSTITUTION
By J. Brock (FINN)
A meeting of the select Committee on the Constitution met on Friday, 02 February to clear up the final issues in the draft Constitution before sending it to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for scrutiny.
Firstly there were a number of structural issues to clear up including the number of Councillors on Ex-co. It was agreed to include a 3- Councillor team on Ex-co with an option to include 5 Members. Councillors will be elected to Ex-co every year but there is no limit to the times any particular Councillor is elected to Ex-co. Some Councillors may want to be on Ex-co for more than one term with certain portfolios but others might not. Councillors are hopeful that it will be attractive for people to be on Ex-co – the senior governing body. It is possible that councillors could, before the election, indicate whether they would serve and portfolios they would like to have. Also discussed was how portfolios were allocated. It is preferred to allocate them in public but it is thought that they won’t until if or when issues regarding confidentiality are resolved.
A discussion about whether Ex-co would be in the public domain but there needs to be discussions about whether the Governor, in the longer term, would have a part.
Lay members and advisory groups are generally a good idea but it was thought that the individual committees should not elect or appoint lay members. The exception is the Planning Committee.
Pay, pensions and timing brought discussion about Councillors being properly paid. If they are, there could be more responsibilities and more time spent doing Council work. Some Councillors liked the idea but others wanted their allowances to suffice. There was an open ended part to the discussion in that Councillors could do other things on top of their duties if they so wished. Another aspect of pay for Councillors would be requiring them to do their duty in a certain way and some Councillors had reservations about that. If Councillors choose to be paid their pension benefits would be protected. The idea has been given to people who do the wages to see how much would be adequate for Councillors’ pay. It is thought it is appropriate to meet and discuss the amount awarded to Councillors.
There could be clarification of the five portfolios with a view to amalgamating them and the committees could also be amalgamated as well. Committee meetings would have a consultative role but the portfolios needed to be reviewed to see how things can be pulled together.
Councillor Summers said he wanted to write the third and final report in February but admitted it might be the end of March before this was done. The report will be sent to the Foreign Office for their response.