Falklands : The Hon Mrs Jan Cheek’s Motion for Adjournment Speech
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 08.06.2011 (Article Archived on 22.06.2011)
I would like to associate myself with the remarks by the Honourable Sharon Halford about the work of Roger Diggle over the years and join in her good wishes to them for the future.
The Hon Mrs Jan Cheek’s Motion for Adjournment Speech
Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, first I would like to associate myself with the remarks by the Honourable Sharon Halford about the work of Roger Diggle over the years and join in her good wishes to them for the future. I would also like to endorse the tributes that have been paid to our former colleague Glenn Ross for his time on the Assembly. I was very disappointed when he found it necessary to resign. His fresh thinking and enthusiasm were much appreciated by all of us. And I particularly enjoyed swopping an amused glance from one or more of our colleagues or officers were being self-important or pretentious. I think we inherited the same humorous gene from our shared grandmother.
More importantly, I think that the Honourable Bill Luxton’s words of praise on Wednesday for Glenn’s approach to the agricultural portfolio constituted the best argument I have yet heard for a single constituency. It should not matter where a candidate lives or who votes for them. We all work for the good of all of the Falklands regardless.
I would like to see a situation where Camp residents have the same number of votes and therefore the same democratic input. I believe that this can best be achieved by a single constituency where all voters have a maximum choice of the best candidates and the same number of votes. But I am sure this discussion will continue until November.
Moving on to a couple of remarks concerning portfolios that I hold; out of sight and out of mind is a danger for the Falkland Islands Government Office. They are far away but I would like to thank every employee there for the hard work they do for us. It is much appreciated, not least by the medical patients who are looked after by them.
And just a note I made to clarify something said earlier by the Honourable Emma Edwards – this relates to the budget – the £150,000.00 for training to which she refers is additional to the normal already large training budget.
I touched on Education the other day but would like to begin today in recognising the work of staff in both schools, where they have managed unexpected staff shortages with minimal disruption to students. As a former teacher I am fully aware of the dedication they bring with them. There is also some extraordinary work being done by learning support assistants. I was given the opportunity some months ago to observe special needs work at schools and came away in awe of their devotion to helping their pupils.
The decision to combine the roles of Secondary School Head and Deputy Director of Education with responsibility also for Further and Higher Education seems to have created some controversy; so I thought it useful to explain the background. Firstly, the full time Deputy Director post was only ever intended and created as a temporary one of fixed duration. When the schools inspector was here last year he spoke at length to both Assembly Members with responsibility for Education before he left the Islands. Based on his interviews with many Secondary School staff members, he recommended that we look to employ a head with substantial UK experience, not someone from a more international background.
We looked hard at this and, to find someone of the right calibre, we need to make the job attractive and interesting. I envisage the new head being based in the Secondary School but also tasked with monitoring and guiding Further and Higher Education students. This will provide lots of challenges but will also ensure more continuity in the provision of careers advice – something that’s already been alluded to here – and an area that’s not been especially well covered in recent years.
The number of students for whom the new head will have responsibility will be easily manageable by a competent appointee; and will allow him or her to concentrate on rebuilding the confidence of staff and of parents.
As I walked up to the secretariat on Wednesday with our two smokers, we were waylaid and lobbied by a smoker who felt he was being discriminated against. Many smokers tend to be in denial about the harm that the many different poisons contained in tobacco may be doing. I sincerely hope that all the Medical Health professionals are being brutally honest. If smokers then make an informed choice, so be it. However, they should be aware that cancers and heart and lung disease are not the only ailments caused or exacerbated by smoking.
I had expected comparisons with alcohol would be made but I believe that’s misguided. Tobacco is harmful in any quantity. Alcohol is only harmful when abused and help is available for those who can accept it. There are plenty of studies showing moderate consumption actually has some benefits.
I don’t propose to hold forth in public about the perceived shortcomings of one or two FIG departments. Rather than watch something go wrong and then complain about it, I prefer to go and discuss positive solutions with the relevant departments if they happen to be within my portfolio.
A brief word on the forthcoming by-election – I shall be looking at what candidates do as well as listening to what they say.
Finally, I believe that our generally calm and measured approach to international affairs will not have gone unnoticed by those who are being regularly subjected to shrill demands that they support the spurious and colonial claim by Argentina. Let’s keep cool heads. We’ve got right on our side and we just need to get on with developing our country as others have said, in spite of attempts of others to hinder us.
I support the Motion.
The Speaker, the Hon Mr Keith Biles:
Honourable members, I, too would like to add my good wishes to Glenn Ross I will miss his dry sense of humour.
The House stands adjourned accordingly.