Saturday, April 20, 2024

Falklands folks up for fight

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Falkland Islanders still have a big fight on their hands.
Even after residents voted overwhelmingly in a referendum last week to remain a British territory, the full recognition and acceptance of this wish by all countries may still be a long way off.
Last Sunday and Monday, islanders voted to determine their future and that of their country in a referendum that posed the question: “Do you wish the Falkland Islands to retain the current political status as an overseas territory of the United Kingdom? YES or NO”.
The result was resounding, with 99.8 per cent voting in favour of maintaining the
current constitutional arrangement with the UK. 
Ian Hansen, a member of the Legislative Assembly of the Falkland Islands, said the turnout was 92 per cent (1 518 of the 1 650 registered voters). There were only three ‘no’ votes.
“This is a victory in a long war,” he added. 
Hansen, on a regional tour along with Emily Hancox, who represents the young people of the territory, noted the importance of the referendum since Argentina has been calling for negotiations over the sovereignty of the Falklands.
“The result is a clear expression of the islanders’ wish to remain a British Overseas Territory. It’s not just a politician speaking about what maybe an individual wants.
It is what 99.8 per cent of the Falkland Islands people want.”
Hansen also defended the integrity of the referendum.
“We had international observers. The initial report states quite clearly that the referendum was held under appropriate international standards,” he added.
Hansen said they would now be taking the referendum’s results to the United Nations Decolonisation Committee meeting in June.
While here, the two representatives met with Minister of Foreign Affairs Senator Maxine McClean, and Opposition Leader Mia Mottley.
Hancox said while they were not at home for announcement of the results, there
was a lot of jubilation in the country.
The two have also visited Dominica, Belize and Trinidad and Tobago. (CM)

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