Falklands : Falklands: The Hon Mr Gavin Short's Motion for Adjournment Speech
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 21.12.2011 (Article Archived on 04.01.2012)
Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, in rising to support the Motion I would like to make a few brief observations.
The Hon Mr Gavin Short:
Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, in rising to support the Motion I would like to make a few brief observations. I do find a lot of stuff I have written has been eloquently gazumped by my colleagues. But as I have been up since 0500 this morning writing this, I am going to deliver it.
First of all, I would like to congratulate Barry Elsby and Ian Hansen on their election victory. (Over the tape)
….Everything is bubbling away, which if they come to fruition, will hopefully strengthen our economic base to make us more resilient to the constant onslaught from Argentine pressure.
I was rather disappointed that no one else stood in the Camp constituency, not because I have any problems with Mr Hansen but rather, I hoped, that we might have somebody else out there who would be tempted to enter the political fray for a two-year stint, which would be time enough to find out whether politics was for them and could be balanced with their family activities.
If the two constituency system, which I supported, is to be maintained, we really must have people out there who are willing to put themselves forward or it is going to make a mockery of the plebiscite results.
The above leads me on naturally to some worries that I have about how the Assembly is made up and funded. I was, until Barry was just sworn in a couple of minutes ago, the only employee left on the Assembly. I will still continue to be the only employee from outside the Government system on the Assembly. I know it is possible for an FIG employee to take time out if they are successful in an election. But the same cannot, I suspect, be said for the private sector. So a lot of very, very able people are debarred from standing, as to put it simply, you would need to have an extremely saintly employer who would put up with you being tied up with Assembly work for at least three days a week, not to mention absences from the Islands. Of course, that’s if you are working nine to five.
I believe it is customary to carry out a review of the Assembly’s pay structure and things like that towards the end of its life and I feel that we have to address as a matter of some urgency a mechanism whereby employees, especially from the private sector can participate in the wonderful world of Falklands’ politics.
It looks as if the Argentine bully boy tactics have finally caused Uruguay to cave in, which is rather sad but not entirely unexpected. I do feel sorry for that country and sincerely hope that this doesn’t herald a return to the days when Montevideo was forced to do whatever Buenos Aires wanted. However, knowing what I do of the Kirchner regime. I suspect this might well once again be the case. We will continue to review just what the ruling by Uruguay will mean to us and our fisheries industry and will, where we can, take appropriate action. There are times when out of adversity arises opportunity and this may well be the case here.
As Argentina closes off South America to us then it may well actually start to centralise some of the on-shore fishery activities here in our country, which rather than bringing us to our knees and surrendering our country to that hostile power, will, in fact, boost our economy and make us more resilient to the eco-terrorists.
I was extremely sad when the news broke that Argentina was to open part of the squid fishery some months earlier than had ever been done before ostensibly in the name of scientific research. But what seems to be the real intention was a political one – to stop any squid reaching our waters and thus depriving us of income. It beggars belief that a country on one hand that is painting itself as a stable democracy, a credible world player, can quite happily annihilate a complete species of animal just to get at us. The sad thing is that they really have left it a bit too late anyway. If they had launched this form of action many years ago it would have had an impact but now a days the Illex Squid fishery is that erratic that in good years it does fetch in some extra cash, which is always welcome, but in the main we don’t really depend on it any more. We can sail on quite happily without it.
So, Argentina, before you maybe cause the extinction of a complete species, just sit back for a moment and see what you will achieve – absolutely nothing except causing an imbalance in the ecosystem of what is already an out of kilter, over-exploited ocean system. Mind you, this policy of annihilation is not a new one as they practiced just that with certain finfish types and maybe won’t be happy unless they have laid bare the whole south-west Atlantic.
We move inexorably towards the budget process again and I think it’s only fair to warn this House that they may well start seeing increases in what is being asked for both in Capital and Recurrent expenditures from some of the Departments that I have had responsibility for. This, I am afraid, is not a sign that I have been encouraging them to start spending excessively but rather the effect that the rather silly procedure that was practiced for many years of a 2 or 5% cut each year, which, when you added the inflationary effect, meant that the real loss was much higher.
Once the bigger departments may have been able to absorb this policy a little better, the smaller departments have been squeezed to a point where functionality is now starting to be a problem and equipment which should have been part of a scheduled replacement programme; but was due to that sort of thing not being allowed, is starting to fail. It is a situation that can be rectified but being the cynical old chap that I am I suspect that the cash savings that the measures adopted may have got us will probably be outweighed by what it’s going to cost us to start replacing equipment that’s needed.
There will be pressures for a salary increase this year and I wish to flag to the House that unless between now and June there is some economic calamity of biblical proportions, I shall be supporting a rise in wages – one which I hope will be inflation matching.
I am starting to see great problems with filling positions here, which seem to come down to money. Our wages are quite low compared to what can be found in other parts of the world or indeed other parts of the private sector here. I have to say this culture of poor pay is not restricted to just FIG as some parts of the private sector seem not to be giving their employees the wages they should whilst repatriating some quite healthy profits.
Now comes the part where I must publically fall on my sword. I had the great honour to present the berets to the recruits at the FIDF Passing out Parade. I admit I was a last minute substitution as the real act became unavailable. As this was an all-male bunch of recruits, I made an observation that they would probably have preferred to have their berets presented by a Page 3 model rather than yours truly and that this has unfortunately got me into a spot of bother with some feminists. It is certainly not my intention to be sexist. I suspect that even if we did have female recruits receiving their berets at the Passing out Parade, that they, too would have preferred the page 3 model or indeed anyone else rather than me doing the honour.
I guess it was only a matter of time before my sense of humour got me into hot water. I take what I do seriously, when it comes to being a Councillor I take it very, very seriously but I never take myself seriously as to do so would probably lead one to becoming a tad pompous, which is something that I have no intention of becoming.
I tend not to be too much into political correctness. I certainly will never knowingly insult people but I will not join in the present lunacy that seems to be sweeping some other countries where it comes to being PC (Politically Correct). If that makes me out of whack with the bright young things out there and something of a blind spot, then so be it.
I am happy to report to the House that the water levels at Moody Brook Dam are still maintaining a healthy level. So there will be no impending hose pipe bans in the offing at for now unless the sun keeps shining.
The Town hall Lift project is also still going ahead. There was two choices – whether to put the thing on the outside of the building, which whilst not making the Town Hall any uglier, would have defeated the object of having something that was readily accessible to all those who wanted to use it; or to put it on the inside and cause upheaval and loss of space at the registry department. I apologise to the Registry Department but it looks like the beast will be heading in your direction.
Also I would like to thank EXCO for the decision that they took yesterday which allows FIG to take responsibility of the roads on Lookout industrial estate and transferring the ownership of the land to FIDC for the subsequent on-sale on a free-hold basis to those occupying the plots. I think this is a great step forward and I thank you very much for that.
I would like to publicly thank all sectors of FIG for their efforts during 2011. I know that some sections have been pushed beyond what they should have been but they rose to the challenge and did what we asked of them and it is very much appreciated. One of the problems that we have is that a lot of the work performed is quite often not in the public gaze so it never gets the recognition that it deserves.
2012 is also going to be a heavy year as is 2013 going to be, I suspect as what is planned comes to fruition. I often dream of being able to live in a normal country whereby you can have more open government but alas a lot of what is being planned is to try and counter the efforts of our bullying neighbours to subjugate us and so cannot be talked about openly as it would be in any other normal, peaceful country. I guess that’s the joys of living somewhere that is almost in a state of cold war – not, I may say, a cold war of our making but one that’s been hoisted upon us. The game is on; the prize is a big one – it’s our country. But have no fear it’s a game that we will win.
This is the last Assembly for our outgoing Chief Executive. I would like to wish both him and Alison the very best for their future and I hope that his journey back north is blessed with calm seas, favourable winds and that the crew doesn’t mutiny. I will also be interested to see whether the next Chief Executive is another old School Chum of mine.
I would also like to take this opportunity to say good-bye to David Waugh, who is about to finish his term as General Manager up at FIDC.
Over the time that I have worked with David I formed a very deep respect for his style, vision, commitment and delivery of projects. FIDC is now a lean, mean organisation with a structure in place to start delivering on the development front.
I know David has, in the later stages, been more heavily involved in more secretive projects from which I hope we will all see benefits in the near future, if we, the politicians, have the bottle to hit the “GO” button.
The review of the review of government has been mentioned and all really I would wish to say at this stage is that I note it is happening and I will be very interested to see what the outcome is.
Finally, I would like to wish everyone out there including the lads and lasses up the road at MPA a very Happy Christmas and a well groovy New Year. Have fun but keep it safe so that those in the hospital, Police and fire departments can also have a quiet but happy Christmas period.
Mr Speaker, Thank-you.
(100X Transcription Service)