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Portfolio Report of the Hon Mr Roger Edwards, MLA (27/3)

Portfolio Report of the Hon Mr Roger Edwards, MLA

Mr Speaker, Honourable colleagues, firstly let me say a very big welcome to Peter Judge, our new Attorney General who is sitting here with us today and was sworn in earlier. He arrived in the Islands only last Thursday so has hit the ground running. He has big shoes to fill but I am totally convinced he is more than capable. So welcome Peter to the Falkland Islands and to this House.

We dined our departing Attorney General, Mark Lewis, on Tuesday last. And without exception we all wish him well for the future. Who knows? We may see him back in the Islands in another role very shortly.

Anyone who could introduce a new sport to the Islands and even see that sport represented during Camp Sports must be doing something right. Of all the medals for the Falklands over the past year, has been highly impressive. Mark, we all thank you for your hard work over the last few years and, as I have said before, wish you well for the future.

On Tuesday last Terrianne Ormond, who was recently promoted to the position of Assistant Director of Civil Aviation, underwent Practical competency tests which she passed with flying colours&excuse the pun& to become a fully licenced Flight Information Service Officer. This follows 6 months of training at Stanley Airport and three written exams which she passed earlier this year and on which I commented on my last round-up.

The Criminal Law review is at long last coming to an end. In this subject I must give my thanks to Sharon Halford and Dick Sawle who were the MLAs from the last Assembly to undertake this daunting task. I had no idea what an intensive task it was and still is. But it is now drawing to a close and it should be able to come to Executive Council in May before going on to Select Committee. It really has been a monumental task. So Sharon, Dick and Mike Summers, while not forgetting the laborious detailed work by Jillian Currelle in the Attorney Generals Chambers, thank you all for your hard work.

I move on now to the treasury and I see Lydia Morrison sitting in today for Nocola Granger, our financial Secretary who is away overseas training. Welcome Lydia to this House. On the 3rd of April we see the departure of Claire Mitchell. She has done some sterling work for the treasury and will be sadly missed. Good luck to both you and your husband and we hope to see you back in the Falklands in the not too distant future. As one leaves we must welcome another  our new Capital Accountant, Chizeto Bruzibua joined us on Monday, 31 March and we look forward to welcoming him to the team.

Lately we have all been busy with the start of the budget process. Members met on the 28th of February to thrash out the budget strategy which resulted in the approval of nine main principles and these are:

1. To spend within Falkland islands Government means. 2. No Public Sector borrowing for operating purposes 3. A reasonable level of funds held in uncommitted reserves. This is previously known as non-liquid assets. 4. An appropriate level of funding is provided to maintain efficient and effective public services 5. To ensure appropriate funding of the Falkland Islands Government special funds. These are the currency and insurance funds. 6. To ensure sustainable pension arrangements are in place 7. To seek to improve the quality of life in the Falkland Islands 8. To encourage economic development in the Falkland islands 9. To strengthen infrastructure within the Falkland Islands.

The committee also agreed for these 9 principles to be set for the term of this Assembly.

On the 19th of March we took a vast look at the subventions for the Radio Station, Conservation and Tourism. And we are now actively preparing for the first budget session proper on the 10th and 11th of April.

And finally Mr Speaker, I would encourage everyone to keep an eye open for the little oval plaques that have been appearing all over Stanley and in front of our most important historic buildings. We will in due course have these sites marked on a map of Stanley with a short description of what you are looking at. The scheme was a brainchild of the Historic Buildings Committee and in particular I would like to thank Yost Pompert for his drive and input to this scheme.

Thank you Mr Speaker.

The Debate:

MS: Mr Speaker, Honourable members I thank the Honourable member for his report. I wonder if he could make a brief statement on the further progress with the regulation of telecoms and fuel which falls under his remit.

RE: Mr Speaker, indeed we have formed a telecommunications working group. That group has met a couple of times. Sadly I was not aware at the time that this meeting was taking place. The next meeting is to be held on Monday next. Sadly, it is at 1100 in the morning and I am not sure I will be in. I have asked FIGAS to make sure I get in early so I can attend it. And this is prior to an afternoon meeting on Monday with one of the directors of Batelco who is visiting the Islands. We will have an opportunity to discuss with him on taking our policies forward.

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