(This item contains a break for ‘over the tape’)
Mr Speaker, Honourable members, in rising to support the motion for Adjournment I would just like to start off by joining other Members in welcoming the new Governor Mr Haywood and his wife to our Islands.
He has arrived at the time when the old Chinese curse of ‘may you live in interesting times’ really is on us. His tenure as Governor here will be, I’m sure, a really interesting time.
As he gets to know us, one of the many things that he will find is that as well as being a placid people, friendly people, even a welcoming people, there is another side to us. To tell an Islander what they will or won’t do without giving them some really compelling reason, will cause there to be a display of stubbornness that has to be experienced to be believed. The same stubbornness and refusal to cave in also comes to the fore as our bullying neighbours across the water carry out their campaign to economically strangle us. The more they try, the more they desperately thrash around, using every excuse to a non-descript forum open to them, the more we dig our heals in. How little they know us.
In trying to make headway with our immigration review, the Honourable Mr Sawle and I are having to show the same pig-headedness. Even something as simple as a status stamp in a passport would try the patience of a saint and I hasten to add that while I cannot speak for the Honourable Mr Sawle, a saint I definitely am not – even though he looks quite saintly at times.
I note the last council grappled with this problem until the day they left office and we are doing the same now. The fault, if we were to apportion fault, does not lay, as far as I can tell, the immigration office but with our lawyers. Every time Rob and Wendy at the Immigration Department think they have the beast tamed and send their draft to the legal eagles, it immediately meets with a load of ‘ah yes buts.’ And a whole new raft of questions is unleashed about the effects and side-effects of planned legislation, etc. I know the lawyers are only doing their job.
The questionnaire on that stamp is going to happen, even if it takes a whole bit of new legislation. That stamp is going into the passport and the application for it will be by a simple ‘tick box’ type paper as is possible to make; and will apart from any better either dubious and for some reason require further research, be instant.
The more obstacles thrown in our way, the more determined we are that we will prevail. It is going to happen.
I would like to thank our Officers for heeding our plea to speak with us in English, which they have done over the last year. I do notice that a new expression that makes my toes curl every time I hear it is starting to creep in: ‘it tick all the boxes.’ Can’t we find something in normal English to replace this expression please?
I was a tad saddened the other week to read in the Editorial of the Penguin news – a paper that I don’t have anything but praise for – something that seemed to be a little misleading. It concerned
Over the tape
Bullied or intimidated even. I certainly don’t wish to play down this incident. It must have been more than just unsettling for the crew of the fishing vessel to have something rather large and potentially aggressive bellowing at you over the radio. Whilst it is quite normal for patrol vessels, aircraft or even Naval Units to hail at a vessel to ask who they are, the Argentine vessel clearly overstepped the mark when they started going on about the fishing vessel trawling illegally.
As I said, they stayed on their side of the fence at all times and really, this incident could be said to be a simple case of bullying by chance.
We had a rather interesting with the Military a week or so ago. It was good to be able to finally put names to faces and pressed to let them know what makes us tick. Likewise they took the opportunity to let us see the world from their prospective. For too long now there has been very limited contact between us and the Military and I hope these regular get togethers will help cement good relations.
As can only happen in the Falklands, I find myself either through pure accident or design on someone’s part becoming more and more involved with FIMCO and the Abattoir. As I said in this House – I think it was last time – I am still highly skeptical about the 10-year plan. However, as happens in a democracy, I was outvoted and rather than spend three years sitting on the sidelines smoking, I am more than happy to join in to do everything I can to prove myself wrong.
You know, the more I see and the more I talk to people and see the real commitment that is starting to be shown across the Camp,, the more I have the gut-feeling that they may not - disasters and world events permitting – be too far off the mark.
I would still be happier if I could see a wholly Islander team driving it along out there. However, I am hopeful that some real efforts will be made in that direction in the very near future. Especially now the FIG has fully committed to be behind the Abattoir project.
The Abattoir, though, is not the only area that there seems to be a lack of bringing on-Islanders to fill jobs. Indeed, the Abattoir is probably ahead of the few quangos that we have in that respect. I would be overjoyed if my colleagues would give some thought to making the annual hand-out to some of these organisations dependent on there being tangible proof that they are starting to target and train Islanders to take over.
I am deliriously happy that at long last FIG itself is beginning to take teetering steps towards starting to plan towards the islanderisation of posts where they can. I urge everyone involved to give it all they’ve got. Keep it simple, sensible and practicable. We have a wonderful pool of people here in the Islands and indeed there are Islanders currently who are outside who may well be interested in coming back if they could see that at long last they will or can get a real shot at the top jobs. I really look forward to seeing the project come to fruition and results being seen before we all shuffle into possible retirement from politics in three years’ time.
Finally, If I could just pop back to the Statistics Bill, although I – through my silence I guess supported the Bill – being soothed by the explanation given by the Chief Executive – I am reminded very strongly of that wonderful book "Hitch Hikers’ Guide to the Galaxy" in which we find a spaceship full of people who say they were one of three ships escaping from a doomed planet. The "A" ship carried the great leaders, scientists and thinkers. The "C" ship varied the workers, who actually made things. Theirs, the "B" ship consisted of middle management, hairdressers, telephone sanitisers and the like. It eventually becomes clear that the planet was not, in fact, doomed but they were the victims of a ploy to rid their world of the useless third of the population.
Why do I raise this seemingly fruitless point? It’s just that I feel we may well, in a very short time, be able to add statisticians to the list of people assigned to the "B" spaceship. The Statistics Bill for me encapsulates yet another example of the malaise and lunacy that is gripping the rest of the world and is starting to find its way into life here in the Falklands. There is an almost unhealthy addiction sweeping not just our government but also parts of the private sector with this zeal for measuring everything for metrics for statistics.
Are statistics useful? I guess they are in sensible amounts. But an addiction to them, however, is not. I fear that this Bill could unleash something of enormous religious ferver for the collection and I have a real worry that we will see increasingly more people either tied up producing these things or interpreting them and less people actually doing or producing anything worthwhile.
I hope I am wrong. In cases like this I am always overjoyed to be proved so.
Sir, I support the Motion.
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