MLAs Barry Elsby, Phyl Rendell and Mike Summers attended.
Executive Council this week consisted of 2 parts; the ordinary Executive Council and the Budget Executive Council where papers that need to go to the Budget Select Committee were reviewed and sent on for further discussion and public consultation where appropriate
The Budget agenda contained 11 papers. The first paper outlined the overall Budget strategy as discussed in the public Budget select meeting a few weeks ago. We then reviewed a paper from organisations requesting donations and subventions and referred it on to the BSC
Next we looked at a paper on fees charged by the Registry. This paper attempts to rationalise the charges based on cost recovery. This meant that some charges increased but many were reduced.
One of the biggest papers we discussed related to the main FIG staffing review. This consisted of requests from Government departments for staff changes, largely requests for more posts. Over 40 new posts were requested across FIG with perhaps 50% of those likely to be overseas recruitments. Needless to say this will result in much discussion in the Budget select meetings and we passed it on with a note that even if we approved the jobs there are no houses available
We then moved on to discuss a paper from the DOH on financial support for Foster parents. All societies need to have a pool of approved foster parents ready to help when a family runs into difficulties and a child needs to be fostered. We need more foster parents in the Islands and this paper recommended an increase in financial support. The Social Services department will soon be advertising for more people to come forward as foster parents.
The FIDF plays a vital role in the defence of our Islands and works closely with MPA. The radios used by the FIDF are many years old and approval was given to buy more units.
People will be aware that our prison is full and we need to consider how we are to cope in the years to come. We approved a paper from the Director of Emergency Services asking for funds to look at options for expansion. We also recognised that whichever option is chosen will cost a few million pounds.
The present Fire station is in need of major renovation and expansion and we looked at a paper suggesting that a new station be built on the outskirts of Town. This would provide the required facilities and free up an important site in the centre of town. At this point we approved money to allow outline design options to be developed.
As Government departments have grown it has become apparent that most departments lack storage space, be that for police documents of investigations, equipment for FIDF etc. We have asked that this problem is looked at across FIG and see how it can be best addressed
The final paper was to approve an upgrade to the navigation lights in relation to Stanley harbour and Berkley sound
We then moved on to the Routine Executive Council papers
The first paper was an update on the work being undertaken to develop a business case for the new port in Port William.
As people will know, FIG sees the port being built by private sector and oil industry finance with little or no money coming from FIG
We have engaged a number of consultants to develop a business case that would appeal to the private sector and this paper was merely an update
We then had an update paper on SAAS. As MLA Rendell is a director of SAAS, MLA Poole sat in on this paper in her place. As MLAs have said on many occasions, we are absolutely committed to an independent shipping link with South America.
This paper was an update on how SAAS was developing and how shareholders will support it in the years to come
We discussed the Island plan in the last meeting of Legislative Assembly and this paper was merely to confirm those discussions. It represents the manifesto for the life of this Assembly but it also sends a very clear message to the World, and especially Latin America, that the Falkland Islands are self-Governing and forward looking. We will be producing an abbreviated version of the full document in both Spanish and English to use when members travel overseas to represent the Islands.
If, as we hope, oil is produced from the Sea Lion field then our population will grow and Stanley and Camp will change. We must be in charge of this change and as part of preparing for this, we are producing a Development Plan. We looked at a paper from the Head of Environmental planning outlining those possible changes and how to involve the public in these decisions. . We approved the consultation process and hope that as many people as possible will take the time to look at the proposals and send us their thoughts
We then agreed a paper outlining the process whereby the 9 mobile homes presently used and maintained by FIMCO will become their property in 10 years time
The Director of Emergency Services submitted a paper asking that we formally adopted the policies and practices the police have been working to since 1989 This was a technicality as an update of these policies is due in the near future
We then approved the TOR and membership of the Telecommunications Working Group. They will look at the way telecoms are provided in the Islands at the moment and engage consultants to look at how it might be improved in the future
Finally we approved the updated arrangement for the Community Development Strategy. This came into being in mid-2013 as a way of enabling people to access funds to train and meet the skill shortages in the Islands. This paper reviewed how the scheme had progressed to date and made some minor changes for the future. Fig will continue to put £200,000 pa into this fund.