Falklands : MOTION OF THANKS SPEECH BY THE HON MR GAVIN SHORT
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 08.06.2013 (Article Archived on 06.07.2013)
Mr Speaker, Your Excellency, Honourable Members and Ladies and Gentlemen here in the audience. In rising to reply to the Governor’s address, I would just touch on a couple of items.
THANKS SPEECH BY THE HON MR GAVIN SHORT
Mr Speaker, Your Excellency,
Honourable Members and Ladies and Gentlemen here in the audience. In rising to reply to the Governor’s address,
I would just touch on a couple of items.
I am going to keep it short. The
remainder of what I have to say can wait until the Motion for Adjournment, as
then I can include items that I hope that have survived 48 to 72 hours and form
part of the new budget.
This past year has shot by at
amazing speed and it does amaze me that as such a small country we managed to
pack so much in to 12 months. I also
agree with the gap in the oil down here.
It hasn’t slowed anything up and we seem to be carrying on full
This year did see a splendid Illex
season – in the end. When it started out
it certainly didn’t look good. In fact
it could have been a complete disaster.
And this underlines the extremely volatile nature of that industry. It is either feast or famine or sometimes
somewhere in between. As was said work
does continue in trying to cut down on by-catch and also the taking of the
smaller size of fish by experimenting with net size and shape. Unlike other parts of the world this work is
done with the co-operation of the fishing industry. And whilst they wouldn’t be too happy with
anything that radically restricted the catch of the target species, from day
one, our fisheries effort has been based on conservation and this must be one
of the few fisheries around where the regulator and the industry work hand in hand
to make sure that what we do is sustainable and actively works together to make
We are extremely fortunate here in
that the financial woes of the rest of the world have passed us by. And I
think we sometimes forget just how lucky we are. Yes, the Falklands are not paradise but it is
pretty close to it and we do still have our problems. And maybe we can’t or don’t deliver on what
everyone wants or chuck money around with gay abandon as some would have us
do. As one of my colleagues once said,
we are a funny old bunch down here and we only spend what we have and
occasionally go beyond that as long as we can see the money coming in to
support the extra we spend.
To return to oil, though, I have
been asked why we aren’t or why we drive the road around to the Camber and believe you
me I am tempted but the moment you pop a road in anywhere it opens up a whole
new area of ground and things, of course, will start to happen.
There are other big ticket items
as well that we should, in some people’s view, be doing now. The truth is that we – or at least I anyway –
am not going to hit the “GO” button until I am sure that we won’t go down in
history as the Council that bankrupted the Falklands. Spend now and if we get a delay in oil by six
to ten years – which has already been alluded to by some of my colleagues – we
will be left once again scrabbling around looking for money to maintain
services and implementing a fiscal regime that will not be at all popular with
The referendum was a great success
thanks to the people of the Falklands who made it their very own. And it has been a game changer. In my travels even pro-argentine people in
the countries that I visited in South America have said – albeit through
clenched teeth – that the referendum has put the Falklands in a very strong
position. We still have to keep working
away to get our message out and maintain the contacts that we made as even in
countries where the governments may be rabidly pro Argentine, and have bought into the lie in the name of
South American brotherhood, there is real interest and indeed support for us at
the state and lower levels.
And perhaps just as important –
the wish to trade with us - I have had approached from oil companies from one
country as to what is happening down here.
We must keep returning to these countries and maintaining contacts –
indeed strengthen them.
But at the same time we have to
balance this with our duties here at home.
Our electorate expects us to be on the ground here for a goodly part of
the year. It’s a difficult balance to
maintain but it can be done.
As mentioned in the Governor’s
address, there has been a study into immigration. It’s just been concluding, I believe. I have seen it and all I will say at this
stage is that whilst there is some good stuff in it there are also bits in
there that do worry me a bit. To me,
immigration, although meant to allow folk coming in who want to be part of our
country and our way of life, it must also have at its very core the protection
of the country and the population. And
as I say I think we are going to have many hours of interesting debates and I
think it may go to the lengths that Legislative Assembly try actually start
putting this into action.
I would like to join with my
Honourable Colleague, Jan Cheek in looking forward to the Minimum Wage Bill
finally hitting the Council. It’s been a
long, long time coming but I do hope my Colleagues here will enact it once it
Also, looking to the next
Legislative Assembly, I would hope that those who form part of it may look at
statutory sick pay and leave as well because they always are two areas of which
I am aware here in the Falklands where there are problems.
It was also mentioned in the
Governor’s address about resilience.
Unfortunately I represented a couple of departments in my portfolio
where we just don’t have it. On a good
day we have enough people to make things happen. Let one or two people go down with the flue
then you start to wobble. Let a third
one go down and we are in crisis mode.
That also is very true if we have circumstances change. Not only is it
people who can’t or won’t adapt it is because we haven’t got the people – where
actually we have been pared down that much we are at bare bones and we don’t
have anywhere to go in those cases. So I
do hope that we and those who come after us can endeavour to try and beef those
departments up. I actually take my hat
off to people in those departments because if I had been under the amount of
pressure they have been under over these past months I probably would have
walked away and become a staffer in the West Store – perhaps less
Finally I would like to thank all
the staff throughout the Falkland Islands’ Government and the private sector
for stepping up to the plate. Once again
we have asked a huge amount of people in certain sectors and they have
Others have carried on quietly and
efficiently doing their day job. Now I
know there will be a shout of well, they are supposed to be doing that anyway.
What I am trying to say is that we depend on everyone from the office cleaner
to the head of section to keep us heading in the right direction. And one person depends on another. And in their own way they are just as
important to our country.