Falklands : THE ELECTION MANIFESTO OF TESLYN BARKMAN
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 26.10.2013 (Article Archived on 23.11.2013)
I am a 6th generation Islander. I have simple values and I believe that you shouldnít make sensationalist claims to secure votes. What you need to know is that the person that you have elected will work honestly and hard for your views and whatís best for the future of the whole Islands
THE ELECTION MANIFESTO OF TESLYN BARKMAN
(As Broadcast on FIRS on Tuesday, 22
I am a 6th generation Islander. I have simple values and I believe that you
shouldnít make sensationalist claims to secure votes. What you need to know is that the person that
you have elected will work honestly and hard for your views and whatís best for
the future of the whole Islands.
Being one of the first of the next generation to stand I
have proven that I donít shy away from responsibility or sit on the side-lines
when action needs to be taken; and there are some failings in government that
need to be addressed.
In Recruitment Legislative hurdles need to be simplified and
salary packages attractive enough to put people in jobs locally and tie down
contracts. HR lacks the leadership it
enjoyed before the Thorogood years and the workloads of its staff have become
so heavy that the burden has been passed on to the tax payer. Inability to recruit hospital staff; itís
caused a disgusting over-spend on locum cover and subsequently undermines the
quality of care we receive.
And the much needed review of salaries has been put
off. This hurts the people on lower
incomes the greatest and means less people are applying for jobs. Addressing these problems will cause a
beneficial knock-on effect for other Departments with more workers and clearer
guidelines on what the Departments can handle themselves Ė not just pass on to
HRís list of woes. I would strive to
tackle all these issues proactively should I be elected.
And as for my stance on the Medical Service Tax, well, MST
should be abolished, re-directed to healthcare or given an honest name. If more money is needed for Health and we are
paying taxes for Health, I want to direct it to Health.
Another thing I believe in is that Education should focus on
students and not statistics. Encouraging
overseas students home again ensures the survival of our culture and we canít
always secure them employment. Previous
experience, particularly for higher-paid jobs is essential criteria. This is necessary but is restrictive for
those not wishing to join at the bottom of the ladder. Funds available for professional development
in training should also be better promoted to ensure itís all used.
Classroom sizes are growing and the quality of education
should be maintained with a higher focus on key skills like Maths, English and
Computing. Encompassed in this is
ensuring that students who are new to the Islands, struggling, need special
attention or do not have English as a first language are integrated and engaged
properly in the classroom. It also means
ensuring that we have the proper facilities to support a growing
Another area I particularly believe strongly in is
environment. I believe nature should
still be in charge and will work to support projects that give us a
comprehensive understanding of our ecosystem before allowing oil industry
development. I would also support
developments like the Berntsenís planned recycling business and renewable
energy projects which are great investments into a sustainable future for the
Islands. I would also work hard to
ensure the invasive species Ė particularly the Earwig Ė eradication continues
I believe the next Assembly should take a more community
based approach when it comes to public spending. We are all concerned that Public Money is
being wasted through poorly researched projects like the public jetty. The public are angered because projects that
are important to them Ė some smaller and some bigger like the MPA Road are
being ignored as a result.
Issues like the MPA Road, School facilities, Care Centre for
the elderly and entertainment facilities Ė the need for them wonít go away on
their own. And not starting to address
them now is failing us all.
We are not an economy in recession and yet we lack basic
infrastructure and facilities to an embarrassing level. I would like to un-clench purse strings in
some areas. I am not advocating a
spending spree of reserves but if we can save for rainier days ahead and still
have a surplus, that extra money should be saved or directly invested back into
the community. The forecast is for
brilliant sunshine, not torrential rainfall.
Regarding our immigration process Ė with a fluctuating
population which relies heavily on immigration Ė the right steps are being made
to simplify the process. However, common
sense restrictions should be put in place in respect of immigration of
convicted criminals and deportation be made available for migrants who gain
criminal records by abusing the trust of the community.
The effort to bring our legislation up to the national
standards should be applauded. We canít
be taken seriously as a country without a solid base of laws that support heavy
justice for those who break them. We
should do more to make the world aware of the terrible conditions suffered
aboard some fishing vessels as well, and make it clear that it wonít be
tolerated in our waters. The recent
immigration survey and itís extended upon extended deadlines for responses
showed us that the public consultation process needs some work. Small adverts and announcements donít
necessarily reach everyone in a modern community bombarded with information.
Another important role of Members of the Legislative
Assembly is their engagement with the global media. MLAs are front-line ambassadors for the
Islands and they are responsible for changing the opinion of the entire world,
whether it be from a pro-Argentine stance or from plain indifference. The referendum was a great tool. We need more promotion for the Islands like
this and to be sure their Members are trained to promote the Islands to the
best of their abilities. It is
desperately important to our cause that all Members can talk to the media and
promote the Islands to the highest standard.
We are backed by Britain unreservedly and we need to show the world why
we are worth backing. Expanding the
Governmentís media team could also prove useful for freeing up MLAs to deal
with home issues.
With the future of the Islands set to develop rapidly,
handing over to those who will be dealing with it for many years to come is
necessary now. The gradual change of the
Assembly is the more responsible approach than the complete change in the years
to come. And looking to the future of
the Falklands and sustaining it means brushing out stagnant ways of thinking
and ushering in a new prospective.
SB: If elected, what
would be your main priority?
TB: I think the top
priority is the failure to put people into jobs with secure contracts because
it is spiralling out of control.
Following the review Government admitted that it worked better before
Tim Thorogoodís influence. In the years
it has taken to admit that serious problems have occurred. They are recruiting for a director of Human
Resources again. There are so many
problems in the Department itís hard to believe there is a person capable of
taking them all on at once. Legislation
and guidelines should be simplified with the aim to get people employed.
SB: Do you feel that
the recent efforts to promote the Islandsí message internationally should be
increased or could this possibly lead to local issues receiving less attention
TB: Itís a very good
point, Stacy and I have included that in my manifesto as well. As someone who is travelling around with MLAs
at the time of the Referendum to promote it, I realised that it was a very
powerful tool for getting our voice out to the people. Actually explaining what Falkland Islanders
believed in got a great reaction from the communities of other countries and
its their opinions that will ultimately influence the decisions of their Government. So I do believe that at the moment itís at an
appropriate level but if it was to be increased it would distract away from
local issues as you say. A way around
that would be to expand the media team within Government itself. If we had a dedicated team that could tour
and promote the islands internationally not just laying all that responsibility
on to MLAs. It would free up MLAs to
deal with home issues instead.
SB: Which capital
project should have priority?
TB: The most relevant
one at the moment is the port development.
I think that needs to be addressed first before we start considering
where we would like our money to go. I
am certainly behind other projects like the MPA Road or other social
developments. I believe very strongly that
they need to be addressed. But I think
we need to look into the financial end and research implications that are
lacking in port development at the moment.
SB: If elected, what
portfolio would you like to have?
TB: I think there is
a collection of portfolios that I really have my eye on at the moment and, not
wanting to pick any one in particular or order them in any way but I really
want Environment and I want Housing.
Those are the two I feel I can give a lot back to. Particularly in the case of Housing I feel I
can offer a real voice for the community.
I have taken action recently to build my own house after years of musing
around what seems like endless rent options. So I emphasise directly with the
struggles of young people and first time buyers and I think it would be a great
asset to have me on that particular portfolio.
SB: Why should people
vote for you?
TB: I believe in
honesty, transparency, preparing for the future and working for the greater
good. I donít make sweeping statements I
canít deliver but I can promise I will always work for the benefit of the whole
And I have proven I can act as an ambassador at Commonwealth
conferences and most recently touring North America to help Members promote the
Referendum. I have been preparing for
this role for years and I learned a lot through my job as a journalist at
Penguin News by sitting on the side-lines at Committees and meetings and
listening to criticisms of Government and creating my own. I recognise the importance of transparency in
Government. Itís public money and
members direct for the public and they have a right to know where it is being
That openness and transparency with respect isnít
achieved. With such a promising future
ahead for the Falklands, demands on the Assembly are changing. We need Members that reflect the community
and with drive to push projects forward.
The next generation of politicians needs to be involved to prepare for