Falklands : LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY 03 JUNE 2013 Papers, Questions for Oral Answer, Motions and Legislation
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 22.06.2013 (Article Archived on 20.07.2013)
After H E the Governor Mr Haywood left the meeting the confirmation of the records of Legislative Assembly meetings taking place on 20 December 2012 and 21 February 2013 took place.
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY 03 JUNE 2013
Papers, Questions for Oral Answer, Motions and
Transcript by J. Brock (FINN)
It has been decided to transcribe
Gavin Short’s Motion for Adjournment speech as the last item on the transcript
list. We continue with Questions for
Oral Answer during the Monday, 03 June 2013 session.
After H E the Governor Mr Haywood
left the meeting the confirmation of the records of Legislative Assembly
meetings taking place on 20 December 2012 and 21 February 2013 took place.
The following papers were
then laid on the Table by the Honourable Chief Executive:
of Subsidiary Legislation published in the Falkland Islands’ Gazette since the
last sitting of Legislative Assembly and laid on the Table pursuant to Section
34.1 of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance 1977)
Islands Development Corporation Transitional Provisions
Islands Development Corporation Contracts and Ceiling
Islands Development Corporation Reserve Powers Regulations
Islands Development Corporation Appointment, Co-option and Removal of Board
laid on the Table Pursuant to Section 30.13.1b of the Statistics Ordinance
Falkland Islands’ Census 2012 Statistics and Data Tables
in accordance with Section 11(c) of the Public Accounts Ordinance 2009:
Comments of the Public Accounts Committee in respect of the audit reports on
the Winter Fuel Allowance
Falkland Islands’ Government Office
6/2013 by the Dr the Hon Barry Elsby:
Mr Speaker, Honourable Members,
Can the Honourable Roger Edwards please tell this House by what percentage
Falkland Island (s’) pay awards have fallen behind the retail price index for
the period July 2000 to July 2013?
RE: Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, I thank the
Treasury for the response to this question.
Over the period July 2000 to July 2013 the cumulative effect of FIG pay
awards means that the wages are approximately 13% behind what they would have
been had pay awards matched RPI.
For example, an individual who
earned £20,000.00 in 2000 would now receive a wage of £27,743.00 following all
the intervening FIG pay awards.
Had FIG pay awards matched RPI the
corresponding wage would have been £31,841.00.
IE current FIG wages, are at 87% of what they would have been had they
matched changes in RPI over the period.
A full table of the pay awards and
RPI is included in my answer but, Mr Speaker, there are 13 lines to read out
and I propose that I publish them and give the Honourable Barry Elsby a copy of
this. But they will be made public as
part of the answer to this question.
BE: Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, I would like
to thank my Colleague for that reply. Of
course I need to declare an interest here as a Government Employee – one of
very many. I would just like to ask a
quick question, if I may? Considering
pay rises also are usually reflected in the increases in Pensions and looking
at the amount of fall between RPI and salaries, does he consider that it is
right that we continue to approve below inflation pay awards and thus pension
RE: Mr Speaker, I think more to the point is the
ability to pay. And at each and every
budget session, we spend many hours looking at the income to the Falklands and
how much we can afford to pay the growing number of people employed by the
Falkland Islands Government. I am sure
that you and all other Members and the public at large are well aware of the huge
increase in numbers of personnel being employed by Government and we have to
maintain a balance between payment and affordability.
7/2013 by the Hon Mr Gavin Short:
Mr Speaker, Honourable Members
could the Honourable Barry Elsby please advise what progress has been made with
the Nuisances – that’s Noise Level Working Paper that was submitted from the
Police Committee and what is the estimated time line to have something in a
form that can be put out for public debate and consultation as its implementation
in some form or the other is equally awaited by those who have been and still
are victims especially to noise nuisance?
BE: Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, I
would like to thank my Honourable Colleague for his question. He is right that a paper did come to the
Environmental Committee in February this year on the question of noise and
other nuisances. And it seemed to us at
the time that the main focus of that paper from the Police Committee was to
look at noise from public houses late at night, private parties and the
like. But as the Committee started our
discussions it became apparent that there was much more to this than really met
the eye and we would need to talk about noisy vehicles, noisy roosters – in
certain cases – a number of people have contacted me about noisy roosters
waking them up early in the morning – dogs barking as well and my Honourable
Colleague, Dick Sawle will tell me for the last 3 or 4 nights he didn’t sleep
because there were noisy jiggers in the harbour. So there is a lot more to the noise element
than we realised. When it comes to the
nuisance again, where do we start and in the Committee we are mindful of
complaints about lights being used on jiggers in the harbour when oil
exploration and exploitation starts again next year we will have much more
noise nuisance coming from FIPASS. There
is also a lot of nuisance from dust from the Quarry – which certainly is a
public health hazard as well as being a nuisance; and what about Lorries
belching fumes being a nuisance to people?
And the committee felt that really
the common law ought to apply that obviously noisy parties can be addressed by
the Police. Noisy public houses can be
addressed by the Police. And if public
houses become a regular nuisance then the licencing laws could be used to
curtail that problem if they weren’t able to look after their clientele as they
left. And certainly there is no other
legislation, I believe, in the Islands apart from Police Legislation to control
that. And our Committee were uncertain
whether the Police Committee wanted new laws developed to attack and look after
the noise and nuisance problems, which would almost certainly need the
employment of civil enforcement officers to go along with that.
And the Environmental Committee
felt that – our committee – the Environmental Committee as it is presently
constituted was not the ideal place to discuss this. So in summary we felt it was a much bigger
problem than first thought and that the Environmental Committee was not the
right forum. And so we referred it back
to the Police Committee for further discussion there. But I believe your Police Committee hasn’t
met since our Committee.
GS: I thank the Honourable member for his reply
and I was totally unaware that it had been referred back to the Police
Committee so I shall be urging that we have a Police Committee meeting
forthwith because this is something that – oh – I am not allowed to debate,
MS: Mr Speaker, Honourable members, can I ask
the Attorney General to advise what remedies are available under Common Law ti
deal with Noise?
ML: Honourable members, the position under the
common law is that the Law of Nuisance is a Civil Proceeding so it relies on
one person taking action in Civil Court against another person for nuisance. And the remedies that would be available
would be by way of injunctions or possibly damages or a combination of the
two. Just as a correction, the Police
don’t have specific powers in relation to nuisance as such – nuisance itself
not being a criminal offence as such.
And just by way of comment, in
other places there is specific law developed to deal with nuisance which does
involve enforcement officers and is done by local authority officers and not
the Police. Common law powers are civil
powers which are available from one citizen to take action against another
citizen in nuisance matters.
DS: Mr Speaker I would just like to ask the
Honourable Barry Elsby if he thinks that his answer perhaps sounded like an
answer from “Yes Minister?” In
other words, let’s widen the debate and let’s include everything but let’s not
tackle the issue, which I believe my Honourable Colleague Gavin Short has made
fairly clear and simple.
BE: Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, I am not sure
I should be congratulated on whether I make it sound like a question from ”Yes Minister” or not? But it is certainly not meant to be in any
way obstructive. It was the clear view
of the Committee that the Environmental Committee as it is formulated is not
the right forum to take this matter forward.
And we thought it would be better addressed if the Police Committee
formed a sub-committee to look at that and co-opted on that committee somebody
with more experience – more relevance.
DS: Mr Speaker, might I suggest perhaps a working
group should also be formed with extensive public consultation?
KB: The Honourable Gavin Short, If you wish?
No. No. It is just more a statement I would like to
make, Sir – not a question.
Question No 8/2013
by the Hon Mr Gavin Short:
Can the Honourable Dick Sawle
please advise if there has been any consideration in respect of moving the
regulation and enforcement of amateur radio licences from the Post office to
DS: Mr Speaker, no consideration to date has been
given to moving the regulation and enforcement of amateur radio licences from
the Post Office to Regulatory Services.
Depending on what progress is made to achieve an out-sourcing of the
Post Office Service – and this is by no means a foregone conclusion at this
stage, a move of this function in future if appropriate.
GS: Even if we don’t privatise the
Post Office, would you agree that telecoms in general are quite a specialist
field and perhaps it may not lie with the expertise that is contained within
the Post office? And that to do this
would require more of a specialist unit within Regulatory Services would be
better to handle this sort of thing?
DS: Mr Speaker, yes. I thank my Colleague for that supplementary
question. The difficulty is not so much
with telecommunications. The question
has more to do with the regulation enforcement of radio licences. This is a big issue. Spectrum Management, which this falls under,
has been considered by the Regulatory Department in our on-going discussions
over telecommunications in general. One
of the difficulties with it is that it does involve a very large piece of work
on legislation and also regulation to bring it into force. Once you bring it into force you then need
enforcement agencies that will basically check on whether or not you are using
the licence correctly and so on and so forth.
As it is not considered to be a
big enough issue at the moment, yet I think – probably summing up my other
Honourable Colleagues’ opinions here – I don’t think it’s likely to reach any
top priority in the list we already have of legislative drafting that goes
on. I agree entirely that Spectrum
Management is something that should exist and it would be good if it did
exist. But to try and do that at this
present moment in time certainly would require a huge amount of work and
additional posts to enforce and regulate.
GS: I thank my Honourable Colleague for his
Question No 9/2013
by the Hon Mr Gavin Short:
Can the Honourable Barry Elsby
please advise what steps are being taken to eradicate or at least to control
invasive species within the Falklands, in particular, Thistles – with apologies
to my Scottish friends?
BE: Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, I would like
to thank my (Honourable) Colleague for his question. The Falkland Islands indeed have a lot of
invasive species as well as thistles and we have Thistles in Town, on Saunders
and certainly MPA has a problem with Thistles as well. But we have Rats, Foxes, lately earwigs,
which is a big problem, Caliphate at Port Sussex, hawkweed at Port Stephens –
BE: Give me time – Rage-wood, Gorse, and there
are others including, of course, people, politicians, sheep – but the main
ones, I think you would agree, are the ones we just talked about. But as anybody will realise, control first is
prevention. And I think it is vitally
important that we have a very strong biosecurity system such that we try to
stop the importation at the very beginning and I know that the Agricultural
Department is trying to beef up their system so they can try to control and
reduce the chance of more invasive species that are arriving here.
Looking at Thistles, they are
found mainly around MPA, Stanley, Saunders and the control programme we have in
place there is funded by the Environmental Studies Budget. MPA also contributes money towards trying to
eradicate Thistles around Mare harbour and the area there.
Caliphate – well, that’s a huge
problem out at Port Sussex to the effect that it’s out of control. Many methods have been tried to control it –
mechanical methods by the Agricultural Department – with some success but it’s
a huge problem. We did look at
biological controls there but they really don’t look as though they are going
to produce anything. Hawkweed – again, a
huge problem out at Port Sussex -some efforts have been made to try to control
this but with very limited success and if we are going to control it, it would
need a huge input.
Rats – well, we have been much
more successful there. Many of the
Islands that were Rat infested have been successfully cleared of rats and
progress is now on-going and research has come to the Environmental Committee
recently to try and find out whether rats actually swim to close-by
Islands. You don’t want to eradicate
rats on islands close by the mainland only to find out Rats swim over there.
And of course Earwigs. They are perhaps our newest invasive species
and we hope that biological controls will offer the best long-term solutions to
But coming back to my Honourable
Colleague’s initial question about Thistles, spraying and strimming offer the
best hope of control and certainly people around town can play an important role
because if they see Thistles growing in their gardens or in the streets they
can pull them up and bin them. That’s
the best way to control them around town.
This year we hope to have around
£20,000.00 allocated towards the control of invasive species but that’s really
a drop in the ocean. Biological controls
for Earwigs - if they go forward - are going to cost us £60 to £70,000.00. And any meaningful attack on Caliphate and
Hawk-weed will take many hundreds of thousands of pounds and that’s just for
control. If we are looking to eradicate
as you mentioned, then we are looking at many, many hundreds of thousands of
pounds on top of that.
GS: I thank my Honourable Colleague for his
10/2013 by Dr the Hon Barry Elsby:
Mr Speaker, Honourable members,
the Sapper Hill Housing Development will generate significant numbers of
housing plots. Many are greatly
subsidised for first time buyers. With
this in mind, does the Honourable Sharon Halford believe the time has come to
change planning regulations so as to prevent so called in-fill building within
SH: Mr Speaker, on the statement there made by
the Honourable Barry Elsby about first time buyers, I would hope he recognises
that it was this Assembly who decided that first time buyers should get houses
at Sapper Hill at significant subsidised prices. And I think that is to be commended actually
and would hopefully go on into the future.
As to his question on in-fill, it
is important to recognise that people have different views on what constitutes
in-fill development. Some have
interpreted the term as applying only to residential development of garden land
within an existing plot, whilst others have considered that the term should
also embrace the development of any small area of land in the town, including
vacant plots within existing frontages.
One planning definition of in-fill is building on a relatively small
site in-between existing buildings.
In-fill development may involve development of undeveloped land for
re-development. This definition covers a
wide range of potential development sites.
A blanket ban on in-fill development for the whole of Stanley may not be
appropriate as the opportunity and the scope for in-filling varies and each
case should be judged on its merits.
That said, the Town Plan is under
review and proposals are being brought to take the criteria used to assess
in-fill developments, such as establishing a minimum size for plots, reviewing
the maximum percentage that a dwelling may take up on a plot and increasing the
distance between dwellings and plot boundaries.
Though the sub-division of garden
land is proposed, it will also be important to insure that the existing
dwelling retains a reasonable amount of garden.
The revised policy might also establish additional design criteria for
proposals near listed buildings or the historical parts of the town. The net effect of these changes, if adopted,
will mean that fewer in-fill developments will be approved in the future.
BE: I would like to thank my Honourable Colleague
for that reply. And I am sure she shares
my concern that we don’t want to destroy the character of the old part of
Stanley by in-fill particularly at this time when more plots are becoming
available out of the immediate area of Stanley.
MS: Mr Speaker, would the Honourable
Barry Elsby not agree that this issue is rather bigger than in-fill. What we are talking about is the character of
the old part of Stanley. And there is a
lot more to preserving that than in-fill.
And would he not agree therefore that this is a much bigger issue than
And can I also ask the Honourable
Sharon Halford if when the Planning Committee are considering this they bear in
mind the balance between the necessity for regulatory provision and the rights
of people individually who own property and land to dispose of that land as
they so wish?
BE: Mr Speaker, Honourable members, yes it is a
big problem but it is a problem that people have spoken to me about what they
see as the cramming in of houses into ever smaller plots which they feel is
destroying the character of Stanley. And
yes you are right. There is a bigger
issue here but my question was specifically related to the in-fill issue.