Falklands : PUBLIC MEETING REPORT FOR TUESDAY, 22 MARCH 2011
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Nathan Prince) 26.03.2011 (Article Archived on 09.04.2011)
A public meeting was held in the Court and Assembly Chamber of the Town Hall at 1700hrs on Tuesday. 22 March 2011.
PUBLIC MEETING REPORT FOR TUESDAY, 22 MARCH 2011
By J. Brock (FINN)
A public meeting was held in the Court and Assembly Chamber of the Town Hall at 1700hrs on Tuesday. 22 March 2011. Present were the Hon Mr Roger Edwards (Chair), the Hon Mr Glenn Ross, the Hon Mr Bill Luxton, the Hon Miss Emma Edwards, the Hon Mr Gavin Short, the Hon Mrs Jan Cheek and the Hon Mrs Sharon Halford. The Hon Mr Dick Sawle was absent.
Margaret Butler wrote a question about changing the time on 17 April. She felt the time should remain on “Summer Time” so that afternoons would be lighter in the winter months. She said besides lighter afternoons the time difference between the Falklands and the UK would only be 4 hours instead of 5 hours and would be better for businesses dealing with their counterparts in the UK. Camp would keep their time. Roger Edwards said this was actually being discussed. There was a minority of objectors but a straw poll indicated that it was a good idea and should be investigated further with a view to change the time either this year or next.
Jan Cheek was in favour of the change. Gavin Short had no strong feelings one way or the other and was happy to go along with what was decided but he wondered if we had to notify some international body should we change the time. Emma Edwards was for the change as it would give children much needed play time after school. She also mention that the House of Commons was also having the same debate about advancing clocks two hours ahead in BST and this would make the difference 6 hours between the Falklands and the UK. Keeping on summertime here would be a sensible move. Glen Ross didn’t feel strongly about it either but he preferred lighter evenings. He felt it would reduce accidents with children. Bill Luxton thought doing it in 3 weeks’ time was quick but he preferred to change it. Sharon Halford was happy to keep things the same. Roger Edwards mentioned that in 1982 the war started at 0900 so he was happy to have the extra hour. It was generally agreed that at least we give it a try to see how it worked.
Parking along H. Jones Road:
Ging Davis asked a question about parking along H. Jones Road. He said it was difficult to overtake if vehicles parked along the road blocked his view. Gavin Short said he would rise this shortly with the Police Committee. Both Ging and Bill Luxton expressed concerns that parking lots adjacent to Argos and Byron Houses seemed to be unused in favour of parking along H. Jones Road. Emma Edwards mentioned there was confusion for visitors about the yellow curb but felt we should adopt the UK Highway Code.
An aside about double yellow lines and curbs painted yellow was discussed. According to Phil Middleton, the law has to change if double lines are to be painted in no parking zones. Only regulations need to be changed if curbs are painted yellow. Gavin short said he would take the issue forward.
Val Berntsen noted the number of prisoners in the jail and wondered why there were no kitchen facilities so their meals wouldn’t have to be collected from the KEMH. He further wondered where the money for feeding 6 prisoners would come from. Jan Cheek said she believed it came from the police budget. Roger Edwards mentioned that a cook and second cook had to be hired and there are not always prisoners in the facility, so it is more cost effective to collect meals from the KEMH.
Val Berntsen saw jobs advertised for 16 and 17 year olds at £3.00 an hour – a minimum wage for them. Jan Cheek and Gavin Short said that you can’t get anyone to work for that wage and mentioned the minimum wage is £5.79 per hour. Jan Cheek mentioned that you could earn more stacking shelves and they wouldn’t get out of bed for £3.00 per hour.
Norman Clark thought the new communications bill gave Cable & Wireless more power. Bill Luxton mentioned that Cable & Wireless were unhappy with it and that the new bill would legalise V-Sat for individual users. He went on to say that there would be a complaints procedure. Roger Edwards felt dialogue between FIG would be a good thing and would bring benefits to the general public. Jan Cheek added that it would control the monopoly.
The Use of Mobile Phones While Driving:
Val Berntsen mentioned that he had seen people do this and felt it was dangerous for the public. Jan Cheek said this would be raised and felt that safety should be paramount while driving.
Norman Clark asked that Graham Pascoe and Peter Pepper’s book should be distributed to tourists. A pamphlet would be considered and Jan Cheek and Roger Edwards mentioned that the book in shortened form was being distributed by several tourist operators in the Falklands already. Bill Luxton mentioned that the book on tour ships would counter the misinformation that is given to tourists coming from Argentina. Emma Edwards mentioned the South Georgia information pack and said we could do something similar. Glenn Ross said it could be on a memory stick incorporated with a key ring. Norman Clark said he put extracts from the book on his website. He would be able to get statistics on how many hits he is getting on that section. He also commented about how ignorant cruise ship passengers are about the Falklands. The same goes for the younger generation of Falkland Islanders. Jan Cheek mentioned that other translations of the material could be directed at the majority of the tourists on cruise ships.
Argentine Rugby Players:
Glenda McGill was displeased with the Argentine Rugby players who seemed to target children at the FICS. She said when there were no children on the pitch, neither were the Argentines. However, as soon as they appeared, the Argentine Rugby players were there. Gavin Short mentioned that the Police were informed and went down to check on the situation and that some of the children had actually phoned home for parental consent. Phil Middleton mentioned that in the Falklands there had to be police checks before adults could be alone with children. Roger Edwards came by the football pitch and there were parents and other local adults there as well as the Argentines. Emma Edwards mentioned that the law about being CRV checked was not in place in the Falkland Islands. Glenn Ross felt they were here to wind us up as well as targeting children. He mentioned we have had 50 years of this and it could make otherwise good citizens to break the law. Bill Luxton agreed that they were targeting children.
Glenda McGill mentioned that even though they are stopped from playing rugby with Children it wouldn’t stop them from slithering around and picking up kids. Sharon Halford felt it was appalling that they would come to the Falklands to target children.
Jan Cheek mentioned that the freedoms that we enjoy are not exclusive to Falkland Islanders. The Football Pitch is part of the Leisure Centre and not the school and the community is free to use it. Roger Edwards said that Councillors have taken on board that these political visits are not welcome. All agreed that parents and authorities need to work together to stop Argentine Rugby players from targeting Children. The children weren’t interested in politics and would play rugby with anyone who had a ball.
Pattern Emerging for Heads of Department Leaving Jobs before End of Contract:
Phil Middleton mentioned that there seemed to be a spate contract officers leaving employment before the end of their contracts. He wondered if they were being recruited for the old job descriptions or would they change midfield.
Jan Cheek said that she wouldn’t comment at the moment. Roger Edwards said that there were different circumstances in each of the current cases. Shirley Hirtle mentioned the gratuity and Jan Cheek mentioned that they get the money in lieu of pension contributions and it was paid to them pro-rata, depending on how much of the contract they fulfilled. Phil Middleton felt something was not quite right with the recruitment system.
The penultimate item dealt with an invite for the new Chair of the C-24 Committee to come to the Falklands. It is thought that if he visits latin America he should come to the Falklands before he goes to Argentina, thus making it clear that a visit to the Falklands was not to a province of Argentina.
Sharon Halford brought up the hitch hiker who refused a lift because he thought there were enough vehicles along the North Camp Road to pick him up and take him to where he wanted to go. He had no especially waterproof or warm clothes with him and no water or food. She felt that people giving lifts to hitch hikers were not doing them any favours and this problem needs to be sorted sooner rather than later. There is a lot of land and few people in camp who could help this chap and people who dropped him off put this problem on to someone else. “When somebody goes missing, where do you look? Asked Mrs Halford.