2016: Minutes




FALKLAND ISLANDS ASSOCIATION 
MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 
HELD ON SATURDAY, 10 DECEMBER 2016 
AT 61 WHITEHALL, LONDON

The Chairman, Mr Alan Huckle, welcomed about 90 members and guests to the meeting. He thanked all those who had attended the Battle Day commemoration at the Cenotaph immediately beforehand, particularly the Second Sea Lord, Admiral Woodcock, who had laid the principal wreath on behalf of the Armed Forces. He welcomed the presence of the Hon. Mike Summers, MLA and Mr Andrew Rosindell, MP, and General Sir Peter de la Billiere and Air Chief Marshall Sir Peter Squire, as well as former Governors Mr David Tatham and Mr Richard Ralph. He noted that Sir Cosmo Haskard, a Vice President of the Association and former Governor, had recently celebrated his 100th birthday and wished him well. 

1. Apologies for Absence. 

Apologies had been received from Vice Presidents Mrs Merle Christie and the Hon Cindy Buxton and several others. 

2. To approve the Annual Report of the Executive Committee. 

The Chairman presented his annual report (Appendix A attached). Support for the Falkland Islands remained strong but various events the referendum on Brexit, the election of Donald Trump â€" had potentially worrying implications for the Falkland Islands. In Argentina, President Macri's economic reforms had created considerable social unrest and, although the IMF and OECD predicted GDP growth for Argentina in 2017, the economic prospects for the country were not encouraging. Argentina™s balance of trade had been badly hit by Brazilâ;s economic recession and the slowdown in China's economy. It was by no means certain that Argentina would attract sufficient inward investment to create the employment and feel good™ factor necessary to revive his popularity ratings. Without a majority in Congress and with mid-term elections due in October 2017, President Macris position could be significantly weakened. 

On the Falklands, President Macri had promised a shift away from the aggressive rhetoric of the Kirchner regime but the Joint Communique signed during Sir Alan Duncan’s visit in September 2016 had come under considerable attack within Argentina. This had promised 

the removal of all obstacles to the economic growth and development of the Falklands, including in trade, fishing, shipping and hydrocarbons. It had also agreed to further air links between the Falkland Islands and third countries in the region provided that two additional stops (one each way) were made in Argentina every month, as with the existing weekly LATAM flight from Punta Arenas (Chile) which puts down in Rio Gallegos (Argentina) once in each direction every month. Both sides supported the DNA identification, under ICRC auspices, of unknown Argentine soldiers buried in Darwin cemetery. The political outcry against the Joint Communique within Argentina had forced the Macri administration to stress that Argentina’s sovereignty claim to the Falklands remained constitutionally inviolate. It was unlikely that Macri could command sufficient support within both houses of Congress to push through the necessary amending legislation to remove the economic sanctions imposed under the Kirchners. 

The Chairman argued that, whilst Argentina maintained its sovereignty claim, there was still much for the FIA to do. The key priorities for the Association were to help to raise awareness about the Falklands in the UK, to counter Argentine propaganda and to correct their historical inaccuracies, to highlight the economic, social and political development of the Falklands since 1982, and to maintain a capability through its membership to bring influence to bear in support of the Falkland Islanders right to self-determination. The FIA had recently mounted a membership drive, particularly in the Falkland Islands, to increase the Association's capacity to do this. He asked for the support of all members present. 

Ms Karen Clapp proposed that the report be approved. Mr Iain Dalzel Job seconded and the report was duly agreed. 

3. To approve the Hon Treasurer's Report for the year ending 31 March 2016. 

The Hon Treasurer, Mr James Wallace, presented an Income & Expenditure Account for the year ended 31 March 2016. It showed a total income to the Association of £36,166 and total expenditure of £32,879 giving a surplus of income over expenditure of £3,287. The main sources of income were the FIG Grant of £21,250 and Members' Subscriptions of £8,593. The main expenditures were on the Newsletter at £17,946 and on Meeting Costs & Battle Day at £7,207. The full accounts are available to Members on request to the Hon Sec. 

The main change over the previous year was that FIGO had taken over accounting for the full costs and receipts relating to the annual Liberation Day reception in June, some of which had gone through FIA accounts previously. Income from adverts in the Newsletter had dropped but this was largely because in the previous year subscribers had been chased up over delayed payments. It was noted that administrative expenditure had declined commendably. The Chairman also acknowledged that the Association's accountancy fees were covered by a generous corporate donation every year, for which the Association was most grateful. 

Ms Tamsin Cunningham proposed that the Treasurer's report be accepted. This was seconded by Mr Steve Wiggins and the report was duly approved. 

 

4. Election of Officers. 

The following officers had indicated their willingness to stand for re-election: 

a. Chairman - Mr Alan Huckle 

b. Vice Chairman - Mr Saul Pitaluga 

c. Hon Secretary - Mr Tym Marsh 

d. Hon Treasurer - Mr James Wallace 

e. Hon Editor of Newsletter - Ms Sharon Jaffray 

The Rev Dr Richard Hines proposed that they be re-elected for a further year. Mr Paul Martinez seconded and they were duly elected. 

5. Election of Executive Committee. 

The following members of the Executive Committee had indicated that they were willing to be re-elected: 

 

Mr David Ainslie Ms Nina Ashton 

Col Mike Bowles Ms Karen Clapp 

Air Cmdre Peter Johnson Mr Maurice Jones 

Ms Beverley McLeod Hon Alexandra Shackleton 

Mr Steve Wiggins 

 

Mr Ted Clapp proposed that they be re-elected to the Executive Committee. Mr Richard Ralph seconded and they were duly elected. 

 

The following had indicated that they were willing to be elected to the Executive Committee: 

 

Ms Tamsin Cunningham Mr John Maskell-Bott 

 

Ms Karen Clapp proposed that they be elected to the Executive Committee. Mr David Tatham seconded and they were duly elected. 

 

6. Invited Speakers. 

a. The Hon Mike Summers MLA. Mr Summers said that most sectors of the Falkland Islands economy were thriving, although there were serious concerns over Brexit and continued access to the single market. Future exploitation of the Sea Lion oil field (330m barrels) would be a major step change for the Falklands. Premier Oil were taking forward the front-end engineering design work for the oil field's exploitation and had estimated that their break-even point was $45 per barrel; the current price was $56-$57 per barrel. The next decade was likely therefore to see the production of oil around the Falklands. 

Politically, elections would be held in the Falkland Islands in November, following the dissolution of the Legislative Assembly on 29 September. Internationally, the election of Donald Trump as US President might pose a level of uncertainty in US policy towards the South Atlantic. There was a risk too that the EU's treaty commitment to UK sovereignty 

over the UK Overseas Territories might unravel after Brexit: this would have to be a factor in the Brexit negotiations. Lengthy talks had just been held under ICRC auspices in Geneva over the DNA identification of the Argentinian war dead buried in the Darwin cemetery. The ICRC hoped to be able to send a further team to the Falklands in January 2017 but that would depend on agreement being reached at the wider meeting to discuss follow-up to the Joint Communique planned for 19-20 December. FIG would abide by the obligations in the relevant Geneva Conventions. 

FIG would be represented at the UK-Argentina meeting in London on 19-20 December, which would include flights, fisheries, and scientific co-operation on the agenda. FIG had been working for a long time on the possibility of a direct air link with Sao Paulo, Brazil: Argentine agreement to this would be a major step forward. As for lifting Argentine restrictions on trade and communications with the Falkland Islands, Mr Summers was pessimistic. There was a political subculture in Argentina which thought that anything good for the Falklands had to be bad for Argentina. Progress on this, he thought, would be difficult. 

Mr Summers said that he was a strong supporter of the FIA, having served as its Chairman in the past. But circumstances had changed: FIG represented the people of the Falklands and through its representative in London had good contacts with UK parliamentarians. Where there was a gap for the FIA to exploit was with the major think tanks and universities in the UK and it might be better for the FIA to re-brand itself as the Friends of the Falklands to avoid misunderstanding about its non-official role. 

b. Mr Andrew Rosindell MP, Secretary to the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Falkland Islands. Mr Rosindell stressed that cross-party parliamentary support for the Falkland Islands and for the principle of self-determination for the UK Overseas Territories remained strong. He welcomed the fact that Mr Summers would be seeing the chairman of the FI APPG, Mr Derek Twigg MP, during his current visit. He congratulated the FIA on doing a useful job keeping UK parliamentarians informed about the Falkland Islands through the FIA Newsletter. He agreed, however, that the Brexit negotiations would be difficult. Mr Robin Walker MP held the UK Ministerial portfolio to lead on the implications for the Overseas Territories and to ensure that the interests of all the Overseas Territories were taken into account during the Brexit negotiations. It was, he said, always an honour for him to lay the parliamentary wreath at the Battle Day commemoration ceremony at the Cenotaph every year. 

c. Mr Peter Pepper. Peter Pepper warned that the South Atlantic Council (SAC), a UK pressure group sympathetic to some form of accommodation with Argentina over the Falkland Islands, had been encouraged by the election of the more moderate President Macri in December 2015. The hard-line policies of the Kirchner administrations had previously made it difficult for the SAC to promote dialogue with the Argentine Government but President Macri's approach offered a new opportunity for seeking compromise over sovereignty. There had been recent signs that the SAC were trying to raise funds to resume its so-called Argentine-British conferences: these had been unhelpful and wholly unrepresentative. He warned FIA members against becoming involved. 

 

7. Presentation of Bill Hunter Christie Memorial Prize. 

The Chairman explained that this prize had been established to recognise the work of Mr Bill Hunter Christie who had helped to set up the FIA and had worked tirelessly to create and sustain UK support for the principle of self-determination for the Falkland Islanders and to oppose any sovereignty change without their specific agreement. The prize is awarded every year to the overseas student who brings most credit to the Falkland Islands. The prize for 2016 was presented by the FIG's representative in London, Ms Sukey Cameron, to Ms Helen McPhee, currently working towards a BSc in Biomedical Science at Queen's University, Belfast. 

8. Presentation to Harold Briley. 

Mr David Tatham, as Chairman of the Shackleton Scholarship Fund, presented a print of the Stanley Waterfront in 1866 to Mr Harold Briley in recognition of his long-standing support for the Falkland Islands. The original painting by Eduardo de Martino, appointed ‘Court Painter in Ordinary’ by Queen Victoria, was purchased in 2016 by FIMA Friends for the Museum and National Trust in the Falklands and is now on permanent display there. 

9. Any other business. 

There being no other business, the Chairman drew the meeting to a close at 1.15pm so that members could proceed to lunch.  

Falkland Islands Association 

c/o Falkland House 

14 Broadway 

London SW1H 0BH 

telno: 020 3764 0824 e-mail: honsecfia@msn.com 

website: www.fiassociation.com