This is part of an interview that was aired on FITV recently. I think it is useful to focus on just a part as it outlines the Falkland Islands Government’s attitude to getting their message across, and their willingness to deal with the misinformation spread by Argentina’s government.
A Congressional delegation visit to the islands would certainly give the neighbours food for thought !
MSP: When you went to Washington was that the first time that you had gone?
DS: Yes. It is the first time I had been to Washington and it is the first time I had been to New York as well. Obviously I hadn’t been to the C-24 before. As for Washington, I think I am right in saying this is the first time a delegation from the Falklands had been to Washington to do any political lobbying. It was very interesting.
MSP: How did you find it there? Were people receptive?
DS: Very! We found everybody we met in Washington was extremely supportive of our position. What you have to remember is that Governments may have a certain position that they adopt; and a certain standard line that they take but individually the politicians that we met there were extremely supportive and we are hoping that at some time we will be able to have a Congressional delegation to visit the Falklands to actually see first-hand our side of the story, which, I think is very positive.
MSP: And see how we live …
DS: Exactly, see how we live but most important of all, to get across to them the message of self-determination of the Falklands which the C-24 is actually about. And the more people we can get out there the more people we can get those key messages across to, the better it is for the Falklands.
MSP: Do you think the C-24 kicks themselves because of the United Nations Charter for self-determination?
DS: The C-24 is something which I think is very useful for us to attend. I think we must make sure we attend it otherwise it would be seen as a loss of interest; and, of course, something we are extremely interested in. The key point I was trying to put across to the C-24 Committee to the chair of that committee and of course to the group of Argentines who were there as well is that we have the right to self-determination and that right to
self-determination is enshrined in the United Nations Charter. It is also a right that has been respected by every UK Government and always has been. The UK Government has been behind us 100% and always has been firm on that for which we are very grateful. So it was very important to go there, get those key messages across; and also to try and dispel the myths about what happened in 1833 about the myth we expelled a large Argentine population there that was purely and absolutely a lot of nonsense and has been disproved.
MSP: The Argentine Defence Minister has, yet again, wanted talks on sovereignty. Does that get a bit boring and repetitive to answer each time to that?
DS: Well, it is. I have said before it is their default position on everything. There was a time when Argentina would talk to the Falklands about things under the sovereignty umbrella. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case as they have broken off all talking with us about anything of mutual interest and I think that is a shame. And I think internationally it is a sorry state of affairs for Argentina. They are always putting that point across but when you read the other press from the other side, the Falklands are not even mentioned.
MSP: So do you actually think they see the real point of view or not? Or is it one that the government is trying to impose?
DS: I think that the international politicians that deal at high levels are aware of the nonsensical claims. But, as I said before, often a countrys position is a party line that is always going to be followed.
MSP: On any of your travels did you meet face to face with any Argentine Politicians or delegates?
DS: No. I wouldnt say I met with any of them face to face. You may recall that just before I went into the C-24 meeting David Cameron was asked a question by Andrew Rosendale in the House of Commons about whether Britain would continue to back the sovereignty of the Falklands and He answered absolutely and finished off by saying Full stop, end of story. I did a very rapid alteration at the end of my speech and said in Spanish Full stop, end of story. And the Argentine delegation went tut-tut ting around and it obviously upset them….
MSP: Do you plan to go to the next C-24 or will it go to someone else?
DS: No. That will become someone elses responsibility next year. Two people
go every year and during the life of this Assembly we will be sending two people
each year……………………… “