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    September 23

  • 07:16 AM

Busy day in The Falklands

CAROL MARTINDALE, carolmartindale@nationnews.com

Added 12 October 2012


The Nation's Carol Martindale recently visited The Falkland Islands for a one-week media tour. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the 1982 betweenArgentina and Britain. Martindale toured Stanley, the capital, as well as camp  - settlements in the country. For the next few days she will be sharing her views on the visit. There is no doubt about it - the people of The Falkland Islands love their country just the way it is. They are absolutely clear that they don't want anyone messing with their culture and they certainly don't want to lose those things which make The Falklands what it is. Day four of a one-week media tour of The Falkland Islands by a group of Caribbean journalists is one filled with interviews with officials representing different sectors. We first meet with Dr Barry Elsby, a member of the Legislative Assembly, then we literally go next door to speak to Steven Luxton who is Director of Mineral Resources. Then, it is off to meet with Nicola Granger, the Financial Secretary of Falkland Islands Government (FIG). They all share information on the place that they call home. The two issues raised which are near and dear to the hearts of these people are the oil exploration as The Falklands eye becoming an oil producing country after an oil find in 2010, and immigration which could be a result from the oil development. While on one hand the people of this country are excited about the financial benefits coming on the heels of the oil exploration, they are still insisting they want to maintain the true essence of their country and hence plan to manage the migration process. There is a strong bond which ties the Falklanders to this country and even though small in number with only approximately 3 000 scattered across Stanley, the capital and Camp which is anything else in the country, they display a strength that shows they are capable of charting the future of their country. Falklanders  live by the mantra "Small in size, big in ambition”. After the officialdom, we move around town and freely take in its offering.  It is the first day that I am seeing and hearing activity in the streets. What a marked difference. It has become even more evident to me that The Falklands is  'jeep city', with rarely a car spotted on the road. It seems that almost everyone in The Falklands owns a jeep, understandably so given the harsh terrain. Quaint shops staffed by very friendly people are also welcoming. Everyone is not only pleasant, but engaging. And of course since people in The Falklands usually hold down more than one job, and because of how small the population is, I happen to bounce into people more than once. For example the lady who manned the museum when I visited, was a cab driver hours later. The museum was also a place of interest housing the history of the country.   Books, period clothing and artifacts as well as books on the Falkland War are all there in safe keeping. After a busy day, it was time for a rest before heading out to the pub for dinner. Originally the plan was to look for a 'chippy' but that was closed as it only opens on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays so we opt for another eatery called the Victory Bar. Then, we definitely call it a day. Next: Off to meet the Governor, the cricket team and then a pub quiz


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