Falklands : Legislative Assembly Speech by The Hon Mr Gavin Short
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 31.10.2011 (Article Archived on 14.11.2011)
Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, in rising to support the Motion for Adjournment I would just like to say a few brief words on a couple of subjects.
The Hon Mr Gavin Short:
Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, in rising to support the Motion for Adjournment I would just like to say a few brief words on a couple of subjects. I will keep it brief as I believe some Members take side bets on whether the Honourable Dick Sawle and myself have the longer winding-up speech at the end of Legislative Assembly. No one has actually seen us throwing the match.
A single constituency referendum as others have talked about looms upon us and I would urge everybody in Camp and Stanley to take part. I have heard it said that perhaps the right question was not being asked that we should perhaps have included one asking of a 6-2 split was correct. However, that may have confused the issue so let’s just go with what we’ve got.
I know there are those who are convinced that things must stay the same and others who would rather see a single constituency. We all come at this from our single (points of view). As far as I am concerned, for myself, having never really lived in Camp I feel that I just can’t completely understand the challenges and the unique problems that living in the Camp can sometimes bring. I make no secret of the fact that I depend very heavily on Camp Members when we are discussing particular issues with the Camp. I do worry that if we ever had 8 people like myself on Council, whilst being well intentioned and completely pro-Camp, we could through sheer lack of understanding of what living in Camp is really like start almost dictating to those in the rural community.
I see, as we all expect, that the oil exploration round is bringing some real cash into the Government coffers. These are large amounts and the question must now be asked, what should we do with the windfall? Whilst I would urge that we are prudent in its use, I do not want to see it all squirreled away for that rainy day. Neither would I like to see us starting to behave like drunken sailors and flitter it away on some pretty nice projects that would cost us even more in recurrent expenditure to maintain, thus putting a greater burden on the public purse should the income from the oil round decrease or indeed stop for some years.
Whilst we can allow ourselves to pop some into reserves and maybe tarmac a few kilometres of the MPA Road, we must – and I repeat must – use part of this windfall wisely and invest it in projects that will help us generate work and future income for our country. Otherwise, we will, in the future, find ourselves at best with a flat lined economy and more realistically, one that is going into a gentle decline.
This coming year sees us arrive at the crossroads that I have spoken about before. I can see opportunities to take our country on to better things as long as we have the nerve to take the great decisions. It will probably be a bit risky but I, for one, am willing to calculate the risk and take it rather than see my country stagnate. The results will probably not be apparent for a couple of years. This is not short-term stuff. We must take the longer view.
The results from across the water, whilst not being unexpected certainly does, in my humble opinion, mean that we will have to put up with another 4 years of bellicose words, irrational and erratic actions from the Argentine government – probably combined with a renewed onslaught on our attempts to peacefully co-exist in trade with the rest of the world.
How little they understand us and as I said before, we will never bow before their tyranny and we will never, ever give an inch.
Finally I would like to welcome Jamie Fotheringham the new Head of Policy. I am overjoyed to see him here as this now means that work on labour related legislation can start again. I have already visited him with my shopping list that includes statutory sick pay, statutory leave, working hours plus the vexed question of just how long can a job be deemed to be temporary. There has to be a definition of this term as I believe some employers have – maybe still are – using this description to avoid giving fair and equitable terms to some employees who carry on being termed as temporary more than the short term. I also wonder whether we should try and define part time, as this, too, can be open to abuse by the more unscrupulous employers, which mercifully are very few in the Islands at the moment. I honestly feel that this work may not be completed before our four-year term is up. We still have not touched on Health & Safety as this is a complex subject that we must tailor to our own needs, as I certainly would not want to see the lunacy that has got loose in some parts of the world happen here, whilst keeping people safe at work and from being injured by others who are working, it must be practical. This work will take a long time and will probably tie a person or two people up just writing Health & Safety legislation to suit us.
If, for nothing else to be part of moving these and other issues forward, such as localisation of posts, etc., it’s already causing me to start thinking seriously and being tempted to chuck my hat in the ring for another four years come the next election.
I guess before getting too excited about 4 years more, I will have to make it through the remaining two and carry on trying to do the very best I can for my people and my country.
I wish to support the Motion.