Falklands : The Hon Miss Emma Edwards’ Motion for Adjournment Speech
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 08.06.2011 (Article Archived on 22.06.2011)
I was saddened when Glenn Ross found he was unable to continue his MLA role due to the problems currently being encountered at the Power Station.
The Hon Miss Emma Edwards’ Motion for Adjournment Speech
Mr Speaker, in rising to support the Motion I would like to make one or two observations.
I was saddened when Glenn Ross found he was unable to continue his MLA role due to the problems currently being encountered at the Power Station. His actions show how committed civil servants are to their jobs and the extra mile many of them will go to ensure the smooth running of our country. I’d like to thank Glenn for his work and his suggestions while on the Legislative Assembly and hope that he and his team will have things running smoothly again at the Power Station.
I look forward to the by-election. It is an opportunity for us to hear where we are going wrong and maybe what we have done right. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all the runners a good race and look forward to working with the successful candidate in the near future.
Last week I was given the opportunity to go and speak to newly appointed civil servants for their induction course. Most around the table were Islanders and this threw me somewhat. I had been expecting to see lots of new faces to the Islands so I could give the normal brief. It was good, though, to hear their views. And one of the things that came across is that the work of the Assembly is not reaching everyone in the community. I know that many of my honourable colleagues write weekly in Penguin News, send out round-ups via the internet or even chat on facebook or tweet about what the Assembly is getting up to. This is all well and good but so often is not creating the sort of debate within the community that we should be having. If anyone out there has any other suggestions of how we can better communicate then please let me or my fellow Members know. I hope that we will not be remembered as treating the community as mushrooms
I guess I have to declare an interest; I am a civil servant, however I believe that, that puts me in a very useful position within this Government. To hear what is being said on the shop floor as a civil servant by my civil servant colleagues.
I can tell this Assembly there is still a lot of unhappiness. Although a review of the super heads is being started, I believe in September, there are still grave concerns and upset that this has not been done sooner. I stand by what I said back in October/November 2009 “these posts are too big for one individual and it’s not creating the sort of job development and career structure needed within the civil service; they are expensive to recruit for and have been very difficult to retain.” I so look forward to the outcome of this review and hope that we will see a bit of sense return and the super head posts abolished.
What amazed me even more is the lack of structured pay scale within the civil service, reflecting people’s qualifications and loyal service. Good people are hard to find and all too often cannot be retained. I am encouraged by this Council’s efforts to provide training for the civil servants to the tune of £150,000.00 but do question the incentive for people if they are going to remain at the same scale following their training. I also encourage all departments to identify people for this training and to put them through.
With another hat – that of a Reserve Police Constable, I’d like to bring to the Assembly’s attention the growing problem of noise pollution. This is a topic brought up as I was undertaking my campaign for election back in 2009 by a number of individuals. There is nothing worse than not being able to sleep due to the repetitive beat and often sleepless nights week after week. Officers have very few powers to help people kept awake by those having a good time. St Helena has very good laws to cope with noisy problems and I would hope we may be able to explore some of these options. I don’t want to come across as a bit of a party pooper but sometimes when the drink flows you think everyone should be able to join in the fun and people’s judgment is impaired.
Whilst I am on the environmental topic, I’d like to remind people of the survey currently being carried out by the Environmental Planning Department on the selling (or not) of trout. Should fishermen be allowed to sell the six trout they are allowed to catch a day? Or should we stick with them not being allowed to sell them on. There are for and against for each suggestion but we would like to hear from people with their views so please contact the Environmental Planning Department for more information or to put forward your views.
I’d also like to formally welcome the new Board of Directors of the Tourism Board. They include the newly elected Andrea Clausen, Paul Lewis and Lisa Lowe as well as Sally Ellis and Sarah Clement as returning Members. The tourism strategy is quite a challenge but with the support of the FITB Members I hope an achievable challenge. The strategy should include all sectors of the community, especially those in Camp. I hope that in the coming months the strategy will be presented across the Islands and the opportunities explored so a clear plan can be developed. Tourism is a very and increasingly important industry in these Islands and I hope that this strategy will show the commitment the Islands’ government has towards tourism.
I don’t like admitting I was wrong but I was wrong with my views of the Abattoir. Last year I was very worried about the huge sums of money being spent on the project. However, I was very pleased to be proven wrong. The project came in under budget. The number of lambs through the plant was higher than forecast. Well done everyone involved.
Weather wise it was a good year for sheep and high wool prices were also encouraging news for people in Camp. I wish the final phase of this project every success and hope that our farmers will continue to support our growing meat industry.
This is a success story using local skills, local business and I do have to ask myself, do we still need Morrison’s?
Another area I was worried about was the Public Accounts Committee. I did wrestle for a while as to whether or not an MLA should sit on the Committee. Of late I have changed my mind. I see the work of this committee is one of great importance. It allows a body of people to sit back and reflect on what has gone on before then recommend how wisely money has been spent. It is a committee to identify good practices as well as bad. I believe it is an opportunity for an MLA to sit on this Committee for a couple of reasons: One is that they give an insight into how or how not FIG is run. The second reason is that they can report back findings from that Committee and drive through the recommendations. It is the later part that will make the PAC Committee a success or not. I hope it is the former.
Argentina is being difficult and I don’t think things will be getting any better for a while I’d like to say to Argentina that this is not the way to behave if they want to have any form of relationship with our country. Our sovereignty is not up for negotiation. How these Islands are governed is up to the people of these Islands, not Britain and certainly not Argentina.
It is also the way the Argentine War Veterans behave in these Islands that has been brought to my attention. Of late we have not seen behaviour which I would class as dignified. Veterans on both sides have a right to visit and lay ghosts to rest but these Argentine veterans do not have a right to go around and dig the Islands up, graffiti rock, rocks on battle sites and leave offensive plaques glued around the place. It is not all Argentine Veterans who do this but, as always, a minority could upset it for all. We need to take action against this sort of behaviour and the first people responsible to ensure these veterans do behave are those who act as hosts and escorts. It just takes a little reminder to tell them to have respect and to walk away with their dignity and not act like hooligans.
We are kept being told that the human rights of the Argentines should enjoy but not at the cost of our human rights, the Islanders and the British veterans that I believe – they come first.
We also should end on a positive note. Well done, our gifted and talented group at FICS. Our students have come into the top 3 in the Shiang Group International Award. So it is a wonderful achievement and I wish I could attend with them when they go to London and hopefully hear that they have come top.
Finally, I would also like to thank Commodore Thicknesse who can’t be here today, and wish him all the best in the future.
Thank you Mr Speaker.