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Falklands : MOTION OF THANKS SPEECH BY THE HON MR DICK SAWLE
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 08.06.2013 (Article Archived on 06.07.2013)

Mr Speaker, Your Excellency, Honourable members, in rising to support the Motion of Thanks I would like to briefly make comments on a few areas of specific portfolio interests.

MOTION OF THANKS SPEECH BY THE HON MR DICK SAWLE

 

 

Mr Speaker, Your Excellency, Honourable members, in rising to support the Motion of Thanks I would like to briefly make comments on a few areas of specific portfolio interests.

 

Our economic outlook, as we have just heard, is unlike many weather forecasts of late except fair.  The outlook for the economic forecast is a sunny one but I would wish to remind people that we are not there yet.  And in order to accumulate we may have to speculate.  The preparations that we are making for an increase in oil activity and development are many and varied but all of them come at a high cost to the government.  What we are doing is necessary, it is well thought through and well prepared and planned by our civil service.  And I would just like to thank them all for their continued dedication and hard work. 

 

However, there is also a new boldness and self-confidence within the private sector.  Many people have already taken on the new challenges of other things and many others are taking bold initiatives.  They do not seem perturbed at taking on the competitors from outside the Falklands and I know that they will have success that will be measured on a level playing field.

 

The port project is well under way.  There is a healthy amount of debate and consultation about this right now.  This will be the largest civil project ever undertaken in the Falklands.  The driver is oil, of course, but the benefits to our community will be felt far beyond that of oil related business.

 

On immigration, as you mentioned, we have a comprehensive external review of immigration and Members have yet to discuss and debate the many areas of advice that has been given to us.  And of course this will also require extensive public consultation and input.  We must get it right and although it will take some tome to effect any changes we may wish to make we will, I am sure, strike the right balance between protecting the interests of Falkland Islanders and welcoming more people into our community.

 

Your Excellency mentioned telecommunications.  Rather like turning on a tap in your kitchen, you expect to be able to turn on the tap of bandwidth and have an abundance of cheap supply.  We have made improvements and now we do have regulation in place that will inevitably pull down prices and increase performance.  As I have said in this House on previous occasions, what we have is the start but by no means the finish.  Evidence from any country in the world shows us that demand always out-strips supply.  And we need to focus on this utility and improve it even further.

 

A topic which seldom draws public attention but which you also mentioned and which is vital to all of us and an essential part of the way in which we are governed is the law.  Much work has gone on to ensure that our laws are not only fit for purpose but also that they are brought up to date, accessible to all and fully revised. This is a simple statement but it takes a lot of time and much expense to achieve.  Work, as my Honourable Colleague Sharon Halford will attest is very much on-going and she and I have spent many a happy hour trawling through what seem like endless drafts.

 

Finally, politics here happens on many levels, from the contentious issue that we started off with like clock times and street lighting to matters of national policy or legislation – such as Minimum Wage, the sitting of annual budgets, the representing of our country abroad.  And we have all sorts of areas to cover – the local – the national and the international.  And with the assistance of the FCO we have made visits to many countries around the world.  Now I believe this has been and will continue to be a successful campaign.  I believe we have made good progress.  The voice of the Falklands has been heard around the world to great effect.

 

Some will, perhaps, remain deaf for many years but as our voice grows in strength and credibility so theirs grows weaker and less and less credible.  Long may this continue and my heart-felt thanks to all who have made this possible.

 

I support the Motion.

 

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