Friday, 30 August 2013

News Direct 26th - 30th August 2013

This is the news from this week.


Argentina Bans Four Companies

Argentina has launched a new attack on British companies drilling for oil in Falklands waters by banning them from operating in its territory for twenty years.

In a statement released last Friday, the Argentine Government said that it had prohibited four companies - Argos Resources, Borders & Southern, Desire Petroleum and Falkland Oil and Gas – from working in Argentina because they had, according to the Argentine authorities been conducting “illegal and clandestine” activities and had been operating without its permission.

The Foreign Office criticised the move as “illegal, irresponsible and wholly counterproductive” and described it as an attempt to “intimidate” legitimate commercial ventures.

None of the companies have business interests in Argentina.

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said that hydrocarbon exploration in the Falklands is a legitimate commercial venture, and the British Government strongly supports the right of Falkland Islanders to develop their own natural resources for their own economic benefit.

All four companies have so far declined to comment.

MLA Sawle in South America

MLA Dick Sawle left the Islands last Saturday for a two week diplomatic visit to South America.

He is visiting Brazil and Uruguay.

The British Ambassador to Brazil Alex Ellis has told local media that the aim of the visit is to promote contacts and give a clear picture of the Falklands to Brazilians, to the people of Brazil, not to the politicians or the government.

Local News

Judgement Published

A judgment delivered by the Senior Magistrate in a family court case, which is highly critical of the Government’s Social Services department, has been published.

The judgment described the social services system as deeply dysfunctional, out of date and under resourced and badly managed.

Sitting in both the Supreme Court and the Magistrates Court this week, the Senior Magistrate Carl Gumsley noted that on the 12th August he delivered a judgment in a family case relating to care order applications in respect of two children. The judgment was critical of how the Crown had sought to comply with their duties and obligations relating to child protection and in particular, of the Social Services Department in the Islands.

Delivering his ruling on whether the judgment should be made public, Mr Gumsley said that taking all the matters into account and balancing the various interests and rights, he concluded that the judgment in the case should be made public in an appropriately redacted form.

In his judgment, Mr Gumsley said he was satisfied that the Crown, who he found were still clearly in a state of flux and chaos and without any real certainty or clear direction or management, were not in a position to properly and appropriately exercise parental responsibility in the case.

The Senior Magistrate’s judgment found many criticisms of the Social Services department. Of particular concern he said in the case was the regular, almost change of social services personnel, particularly those associated with the responsibility of working with the children in the case. The Senior Magistrate said it remained wholly unclear as to what exactly is happening within the Social Services Department but he said the overwhelming impression is one of complete disharmony and discontentment and a lack of any proper management.

It is important to make it clear that although the Court had criticised the Social Services department in the case, it was abundantly clear that this criticism should fall upon the shoulder of management. Those at the coal face, he said, had the admiration of the Court as they try to work in a system that it seems, in his judgment, continued to be deeply dysfunctional, out of date, under resourced and badly managed.

The Senior Magistrate said he had been promised changes and that he hoped these promises will not be broken.

Government’s Response

The Government’s Director of Health and Social Services says that there will be action to address issues with child protection services in the Falklands following the publication of the highly critical court judgment.

In response to the judgment, the Falkland Islands Government acknowledged that there have been difficulties encountered recently in the delivery of the quality of child protection services which might reasonably be expected but said it is committed to ensuring that the services it provides to safeguard and protect children in the Islands are delivered to an appropriate standard.

The Director of Health and Social Services Hilary Rowland says that they are clear that the problems that the case had highlighted must not happen again and the difficulties identified must be addressed.

Genco7 in the Falklands

Representatives from the South American company Genco7, which supplies components and equipment to the oil and gas industry, enjoyed a successful visit to the Falklands last week.

The company are interested in becoming involved in the Falklands hydrocarbons industry and are looking to develop a joint venture business in the Islands.

Project and commercial manager for Genco7 Mariela Ruiz said that they are keen to do business in the Falklands.

Argos are Well Placed

Argos Resources have said that they are extremely well placed to participate in the next round of exploration drilling in the Falklands and they are continuing to consider various ways to finance drilling.

According to their best estimate of unrisked potentially recoverable prospective resources on their licence area, Argos is sitting on around three million barrels of oil, with 40 additional leads still to be evaluated. The highest estimate is 10.4 million barrels of oil, the company said in its half-year statement.

Chairman of Argos Resources Ian Thomson says that the 3D seismic data they have obtained is the best quality data seen in the basin to date. Mr Thomson says that new studies have also confirmed that two proven oil source rocks within the licence area are mature for significant volumes of oil generation, and this has added to the improved estimated chances of success for most of the prospects.

Premier Public Presentation

Premier Oil held a public presentation this week at the Narrows Bar to give the public an update on the development of the Sea Lion field.

Premier’s Falklands representative Ken Humphrey said that the latest modelling on the site has given an estimate that there are 394 million barrels of oil at Sea Lion. As announced last week, Mr Humphrey said that while the option of using a floating production storage and offloading vessel is viable, due to an escalation in cost they are also considering using the option of a tension leg platform.

It was also confirmed that the timing for the decision gates in the project have slipped back by six months which means that it is more likely that production will begin 2018.

Your Future - Your Say 

The Falkland Islands Government has released the findings of the ‘Your Future – Your Say’ community consultation exercise following the approval of Members.

The first stage consultation exercise provided brief background details on the new deep water port to be located at Port William and asked respondents to express their views on the early key decision areas, as identified in the ‘Towards an Infrastructure Development Plan’ produced by David Smethurst Consultancy.

MLA Dick Sawle says he is very pleased with the engagement of the community. 164 responses were received in total, which MLA Sawle says is a substantial response rate. MLA Sawle says that while there was no surprise about the extent of different opinions they received, there were some very clear messages from the analysis, which will be taken forward.

Jhelum Falls Apart

The Jhelum [sounds like Gel - Um] shipwreck has been damaged further by the recent windy weather.

Harbour Master Malcolm Jamison confirmed that a number of reports were made to the Ops Room at the Fisheries Department yesterday to advise on sections of the Jhelum breaking away in the high winds.

Leona Roberts, of the Museum and National Trust, said that it’s sad to see maritime history damaged and it should be appreciated whilst it’s still here.


Executive Council

 At last week’s meeting of Executive Council, it was agreed that further work should be done on the potential removal of Permitted Development Rights from Crown Projects.

MLA Jan Cheek feels it would be a step in the right direction. Also at the meeting of Executive Council, it was agreed that more frequent meetings of Executive Council and the Legislative Assembly will be held in 2014. This follows the decision that MLA’s will become full time after the next general election.

Local Events

 FIOGA Reception

The Falklands competitors efforts at this year’s Guernsey and Bermuda Games were recognised at a reception held at Government House on Wednesday.

The Falklands competitors in both Guernsey and Bermuda performed excellently collecting medals at both Games.



And finally, with only one more set of matches to go in the darts league, Otto’s Outlaws are top of the table with 50 points. Sharpshooters are in second place with 46 points.

For the men, Colin Smith has won the most legs and has the highest on the back of the card. Darren Plato and Roy Shepherd have scored the joint most tons.

For the ladies, Jackie Thomas and Lizzy Bonner have won the joint most legs. Lizzy Bonner has the highest on the back of the card and has scored the most tons.


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