Friday, 6 September 2013

News Direct 2nd – 6th September 2013

This is the news from this week.


Sawle’s Busy Week

MLA Dick Sawle and FIG Director of Central Services Simon Fletcher have had a busy week of meetings in Uruguay.

The visit to Uruguay follows a week of meetings in Brazil.

In an interview with the Uruguayan press, MLA Sawle said that the visit has taken place because they hoped to interest potential businesses to trade in goods and services with the Falklands, and even have Uruguayan companies in association with local partners actively participate in the logistics of the hydrocarbons industry.

Falklands at the CPA

MLAs Roger Edwards and Barry Elsby recently attended a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference in South Africa.

One of the plenary sessions of the Small Branches Conference featured a session on self-determination which was led by MLA Edwards. Self-governance was the subject of another session.

The CPA during its conference in Johannesburg noted a motion recognising the Falkland Islands Referendum as a free and fair expression of the Falkland Islanders wishes and their right to Self-Determination.

In the debate that followed, the Hon Dr Barry Elsby was invited to speak. Dr Elsby said: “the Falkland Islands are being constantly bullied by Argentina, they are attempting to blockade the Islands, destroy fish stocks and obstruct the development of the Islands oil industry.”

He also said that he was aware that many Commonwealth States supported the Falkland Islands position, but asked if it was unreasonable to ask that all Commonwealth States supported Falkland Islanders.

Gibraltar’s National Day

Political representatives from eight UK Overseas Territories, including the Falklands, will be in Gibraltar to celebrate National Day next week.

A full programme of activities and events has been prepared for them, including working meetings in advance of the Joint Ministerial Council between the Overseas Territories Governments and the United Kingdom Government which will take place at the end of the year.

MLA Ian Hansen will represent the Falklands and will be accompanied by FIG London Representative Sukey Cameron.

Royal Visit to Argentina

The Daily Telegraph reports that the Princess Royal has been threatened by militant Argentine groups as she begins the first official senior royal engagement to the South American country for 14 years.

The three-day visit is being made in Princess Anne's capacity as a member of the International Olympic Committee.

She will attend the opening ceremony of the 125th session of the International Olympic Committee in Buenos Aires this evening.

Protest group Quebracho – which led riots against the British Embassy in Buenos Aires last April – has vowed to disrupt proceedings.

Local News

On-land Oil Spill Report

The Falkland Islands Government has received the independent investigation report into the Mary Hill Quarry oil spill that occurred in June.

Members of the Legislative Assembly felt that the incident was of such a nature that an enquiry should be carried out to investigate the circumstances of the spill. The Chief Executive was asked to draft terms of reference on behalf of MLAs for an enquiry.

The report reviews the circumstances of the spill, and makes recommendations for implementing plans and procedures for dealing with any future onshore oil spills, and also makes recommendations for improving the handling and disposal of waste oil generally.

The report will be considered by Executive Council in September, following which it will be made public.

Sir Rex Hunt Memorial

A memorial to Sir Rex Hunt is to be unveiled in his home town.

The Governor of the Falklands in 1982, who was from Redcar in North Yorkshire, died in November last year, aged 86. A memorial has been commissioned and it was unveiled this Friday. Sir Rex's widow, Lady Mavis Hunt attended.
Councillor Josh Mason said that Sir Rex was born in Redcar and they felt it was really important that those who have contributed to the area’s rich local history and culture are remembered.

Shackleton Scholarship

The Shackleton Scholarship Fund is offering a flagship scholarship worth £10,000 for research in the natural or social sciences of relevance to the countries of the South Atlantic, in particular the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the British Antarctic Territories.
The scholarship is being offered due to 2014 marking the centenary of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition setting out for Antarctica.

The closing date for applications is the 15th September. Applications from individuals or teams of research workers from any country should be made to the Funds website A decision will be announced in November.

Baroness Thatcher Bust

The Falkland Islands Government are in the process of commissioning a sculptor to create a memorial bust of Baroness Thatcher.

The project follows a public consultation held as to how best to commemorate the late Margaret Thatcher.

Following the consultation, the Legislative Assembly agreed to commission a local sculptor to create a bronze bust of Baroness Thatcher, to be mounted on local stone with a plaque containing the quote delivered by Baroness Thatcher on the 3rd April 1982:

“They are few in number, but they have the right to live in peace, to choose their own way of life and to determine their own allegiance”

It is intended that the bust will be situated on the corner of Thatcher Drive.

The Legislative Assembly have written to the Thatcher family informing them of the proposed project and seeking their approval.

The Legislative Assembly would like to thank the community for their participation in the consultation and for their patience as this sensitive matter has been pursued.


Antarctic Memorial

At a meeting of the Planning and Building Committee held this morning, approval was given to an application from the British Antarctic Trust to site a memorial in Stanley Dockyard to those who have died in the Antarctic in the pursuit of science.

 The memorial will be three metres tall and its plinth will have the names of the dead inscribed on it. The Stanley memorial will marry another memorial to be erected in Cambridge. It is currently anticipated that the memorial will be dedicated in February 2015.

Public Health Board Reform

The Government’s public health board is to be reformed.

The group has not met for some years and Senior Veterinary Officer Steve Pointing said that at a recent meeting with the Chief Medical Officer Angela Rowlands it was agreed that that it would be useful for the board to hold more regular meetings.


SP:    Last Thursday Angela Rowlands and I had a meeting to discuss issues of public health concern in the Falkland Islands with the idea that we would reconstitute the old Board of Health. There is such a thing as the Board of Health in the Falkland Islands. It used to consist of Chief Medical Officer, the Senior Veterinary Officer and the Director of Public Works; and I think the last time we met was when Roger Diggle was here and it was when there was that concern that there would be a, there could be a pandemic of avian flu that could possibly get into the human population and what would we do if it got down to the Falkland Islands and how would we try and stop it from coming in? and I can’t remember how long ago that was - two, three years ago – certainly when Roger was here, and we’ve not had any meetings since, on any other subject. So we had a meeting last week just to discuss something to do salmonella and to get a list of ideas together of other issues in the Falkland Islands that could be a public health concern that we feel ought to be addressed in some way; so rather then being reactive to something when it happens, we’ve been proactive and thought about what might happen before it actually happens, so that was juts our starting meeting last week, and we bantered ideas of each other and so we will now, in the coming month – certainly before the end of this year – have another meeting, we will invite the Director of Public Works to come to the next one, because he should be on, it should be useful to him because he’s responsible for the water supply to Stanley and sewage and all that sort of stuff that has the discharged tip at Eliza Cove, you know, which gives a lot of people, you know, concern and things like that, so it’s quite a good idea to have somebody from Public Works there as well to say what’s practical, what can be done, why certain things haven’t been done in the past, you know, because it’s too expensive or this other, that other.


At a meeting of the Health and Medical Services Committee held this week, the Director of Health and Social Services Hilary Rowland reported on current issues for the department.

On staffing matters, it was reported that Janette Vincent continues as Acting Hospital Manager. The post will be advertised in September. It was stated that a good response was received for the recruitment of nurses. Nine nurses were interviewed with offers being made to four nurses who initially will be based on the ward. The new team leader for Social Services arrives later this month. The position of Laboratory Manager has been advertised locally and will be advertised overseas this month.

The Director of Health and Social Services also reported that a visit by mammography specialists was being planned. The visit will take place either in December or next March.

Local Events

Walking Millers

Islanders Jan and Tim Miller last weekend took part in the Walk on Wales charity endeavour. This will see an 870 mile walk around the Welsh Coastline path take place. The aim is to raise £1million for Welsh Veterans who served during the Falklands War as well those who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 Jan and Tim joined many 1982 veteran friends and yomped 16 miles on the north east coast. Tim says that everyone was delighted to have an Islander presence, and that he carried a Falklands flag on his pack. The veterans have now taken it on and so the Falklands flag will fly all the way to the end in Cardiff on the 2nd November.


School News

Annie Arrives

The new Director of Education has arrived in the Islands to take up the position.

Annie Tempest’s appointment to the role was announced in May and she will be the first permanent Director of Education since the department was separated from the health service.

She says that she is pleased to have arrived in the Islands.


AT:    Well I’m loving it. I’ve had a great start to my first few days here. The weather’s been gorgeous so that was a lovely, coming from the airport was great and the Islands incredibly beautiful; and people have been really warm and welcoming so very, very lucky.
SB:    So what was it about this position here in the Falklands that interested you?

AT:    I think an Island community, and I know there’s been lots of changes in the Islands and so I was really inquisitive and I thought it would be a lovely place to work so when the opportunity came up, I was lucky enough to get the job so that’s great.

SB:    Have you worked in far flung places before? What’s your background?

AT:    I have. I have worked in far flung places before.  Worked in Papa New Guinea for a while and I worked in Lagos for a while.


 Commonwealth Baton Relay

Planning has begun for the arrival of the Queen’s Baton in the Falklands next year.

The Queen’s Baton Relay is held before every Commonwealth Games.

Chairman of the Falkland Islands Overseas Games Association Mike Summers says it is hoped that the community will be involved in the Falklands visit of the baton.


MS:    The Queen’s Baton will arrive here on the 27th of February next year and it’ll leave on the LAN flight on the 1st March so that gives us a day and two halves with the Baton here. And we’ve, we’ve started quite a lot of work on how we’re going to run those two days. We want to get as many people as we can, we want the schools to be involved, we want the sports clubs to get involved. We want the population generally to be involved.

Darts Scores

In darts news, Ottos Outlaws have won the league this season after the final round of games was played this week. They finished four points ahead of Sharpshooters.

Colin Smith won the most legs during the season. He also had the highest on the back of the card. Roy Shepherd scored the most tons and Alan Bonner scored the most ton pluses.

For the ladies, Jackie Thomas won the most legs and she also had the joint highest on the back of the card with Lizzy Bonner. Lizzy also scored the most tons and Teresa Clifton scored the most ton pluses.

Local Reports

August Weather

Both the mean maximum and minimum temperatures were slightly below the long-term average for August, according to the MPA Met Office.

 Rainfall was above average as was sunshine.

The highest temperature recorded in August was 10.1 degrees Celsius on the 17th. The lowest minimum was –5.2 degrees Celsius recorded on the 24th.

The monthly sunshine total was 107.3 hours, with the highest daily total of 8.2 hours recorded on the 24th August.

It was the third windiest August on record. The highest gust of wind reached 52 knots recorded on the 1st and 14th. There were 21 days with gusts in excess of 33 knots.

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