Falklands : The Election Manifesto of Clive Wilkinson
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 04.11.2009 (Article Archived on 18.11.2009)
Clive Wilkinson has thrown his hat in the ring for Thursday's election in the Falklands.
I arrived in the Islands in 1979. I’ve farmed at Dunnose Head since 1983 and in 1991 diversified into alternative energy. I’m a qualified Agriculturalist specialising in Farm Management and Business Analysis. I am standing for election in the Camp Constituency in November 2009.
Below is my manifesto. I’d be grateful if you would take a few minutes of your time to read it. I am happy to answer any questions you may have.
I feel the Island Plan is a great plan for the next 5 years. However, in today’s economic climate the Island Plan is be Plan A and we might end up with Plan B or Plan C.... The current plans most important mission statement is that it “provides an outlet for our aspirations and aims, whilst keeping in mind that they are subject to the resources available”. No one knows what the Islands income will be next year and bearing this in mind I would like to go through the following points:
Transport and Communications
The road system is complete and we have a new telephone/internet service. But neither work satisfactorily. Decisions made by previous Councillors have come back to haunt us. The roads were not built to take today’s traffic; trunk routes need to be upgraded to carry 38 tonnes. Other roads should be improved so people can travel without fear of coming off the road.
Subscribers to the telephone/internet service are being overcharged. I believe Camp should have a free choice of server i.e. direct access to T. V., radio, and internet through broadband.
Transport and communications are lifelines. Interaction between people is vital for wellbeing, especially in isolated locations. In many parts of Camp there hasn’t been a television or radio service. The radio service has recently been resumed, but television has been off for over 6 months and is still off. The couldn’t care less attitude of the authorities concerned hasn’t helped morale.
FIGAS: I question the effectiveness of the shuttle system and believe that economies are made are at the expense of its reputation both here and abroad.
This department delivers a very good service and we are still able to fund students overseas. I believe students who want to take up careers in trades and professions that the Islands need should be encouraged. If funds are threatened I would like to see a scholarship scheme introduced where the top students, regardless of family income, are rewarded in full and I feel there should be means testing for other students.
Health and Social Services
This is another vital service which has improved steadily over the years. I fear a continuation of the cutbacks, which all government departments have had to make for some time, could seriously affect provision of services in this department. We are getting to the stage where department heads are being asked to “skin a stone”. Further cutbacks could have serious consequences on services provided. Cutbacks may have already gone too far with the introduction of means testing for Child Allowance which I feel should be re-evaluated for a fairer outcome. I also feel that the Health Department needs more funding for patients in need of palliative care.
This department seems to be getting more and more out of touch with farmers and appears top heavy. I would like to see a review.
FIMCO: should become more pro-active. The abattoir is an asset and many farmers’ futures depend upon supplying animals to them. FIMCO may always need funding to some degree as local business and the workforce benefit from its existence. If there is a development on the oil front FIMCOs future could be very bright and I would like to see oil companies buy meat locally. If this were to happen it would make FIMCO financially viable and public funding would be unnecessary
For humanitarian reasons I support the Argentine Next-of-Kin visits, but, there are folk in the islands who think otherwise and I understand their reasons. I don’t agree with mixing sport with politics. For me recent events highlighted this; if correspondents won’t use our name that’s too underhand and I question their motives.
We must keep Britain, the EU, USA and anyone else in the world we can influence on our side. The recent visit of teachers on the Comenius project from 4 European countries, including Spain, visiting politicians, our young (and not so young) people attending the Small Islands Games, the Cricket Team playing in Chile etc. all of these are vitally important in terms of PR for the Falkland Islands.
Wool and meat prices have improved, but with increased transport costs these improved prices will to some degree be cancelled out. I want to get the transport system up and running. I want direct dialogue with established haulage companies and all involved as soon as possible to sort out this mess. This season’s short term fix for subsidised transport on wool and sheep must include the islands and necessitates adjustment to their costs giving parity to everyone. I hope we will end up with realistic freight costs.
I have spoken to people in the relevant departments and there are plans for road maintenance in Camp. But the plans are dependent upon funds.
Governments spend money, private sectors create wealth. At present I feel obstacles are being put in the way which stifles private sector development. I believe Government policy should be encouraging and actively welcome new ideas and enterprise.
All too often it seems we pay someone from overseas “to borrow our watches to tell us the time”. The current port facility proposal is a good example; are local companies, who will be involved in using this facility, being asked where the best location for a deep water port would be? After all it is they who shall be asked to invest in it and who will be using it. Though at present I feel we shouldn’t consider building a deep water port until the future looks more financially stable. Meanwhile, I would rather see local labour utilised to landfill and extend FIPASS, so equipment already in the islands can be used for handling large containers efficiently and safely.
In closing, I believe that we have been living beyond our means for too long. We have a healthy economy, but, we must be more vigilant in the management of funds, we simply can’t have a repeat of fiascos such as the dairy. It will be the responsibility of the next Assembly to monitor the planned savings and efficiencies within Government and ensure they bear fruit. If I were elected my task would be to represent you and put forward your hopes and ideas. I promise you that I will work hard, do my best to fix current problems and, I hope, play a part in providing a more positive future for Camp in particular and the Falklands in general.
Clive Wilkinson October 2009
Please feel free to email me on email@example.com or telephone 21571.