Executive Council met on Wednesday morning
The first paper we discussed was an update report on potential outsourcing of the Post Office and Philatelic Bureau. The Director of Central Services attended for this discussion.
People will be aware that this process has been going on for some time now. Following advertisements seeking expressions of interest, the process has advanced to a stage where there is a single preferred bidder.
Members were asked to agree that the Director now enter into contract negotiations with this bidder. We agreed to this but the matter will come back to Executive Council before any final decision is taken.
The next paper concerned SAAS and as Phyl Rendell is a Director of SAAS, she left the room during this discussion.
As we have stated before, all member feel strongly that we need our own containerised shipping link with South America. This paper was another stage in the process of deciding how that can best be achieved.
We then gave permission for the Royal Mint to issue a commemorative £5 Silver Proof coin to celebrate the Queen`s Reign. All costs will be met by the Mint.
The next paper discussed ways of maintaining our links with Peter Symonds College in the UK. As many people will know, we have strong links with this excellent college and had a financial arrangement that guaranteed our students places and also fixed the costs to Government. That agreement will expire soon and we agreed that Education and Treasury try and agree a renewal of this type of agreement with the college
A review of the Community Development Scheme was then discussed together with a paper on FIG Internships.
The CDS fund has been very successful in enabling over 40 people, mainly from Government but also from the private sector, to work towards improved qualifications and skills.
As with all new schemes, there is a need to review how it has worked and address any problems. Members noted the papers and asked the Director of Education to pull all these elements together. We look forward to another paper giving options as to how best to integrate this fund with FIGs own departmental training budget and address the needs of the private sector and be linked to the soon to be produced training needs analysis.
Approval was then given to allow Noble Energy to drive piles in the seabed to the East of FIPASS in preparation for the arrival of the temporary dock. There has been careful consideration of any environmental issues and when the dock is removed, the piles will also be taken away
We then moved on to discuss the proposed new Children Bill. This would replace the Children Ordinance 1994 and has been guided by Justine Hosking who was seconded to the AGs department as Crown Council specialising in Childrens issues, in response to sexual abuse cases.
The document runs to 150 pages, is highly technical and all MLAs agreed that it should be sent to the Legislative Assembly on February 27th as a Matter of Urgency. We will then set up a Select Committee to go through this document clause by clause so as to ensure it addresses the deficiencies we know exist in the old ordinance but also that it is appropriate to the Falkland Islands.
The Select Committee will be open to the public and press
An offer of a contract renewal was then approved for one of our teachers. We always welcome the fact that people are looking to stay here long term and it is perhaps worth reminding people that they can apply for PRP after 3 years in the Islands and own a house etc. After 7 years people can of course apply for Falkland Island Status
Finally, we approved the creation of the post of Marine Ecologist for 2 years funded by the Darwin Plus scheme.
We are rightly proud of our wildlife and rely on fishing for much of our annual income. This post will better inform us as to how to protect costal, inshore and the offshore environment.