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General Purposes Committee Report (29/01/07)

GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE REPORT (29/01/07) By J. Brock (FINN) A meeting of the General Purposes Committee (GPC) took place on Wednesday, 24 January 2007. On Monday, 29 January 2007 Cllr. Mike Summers briefed the press about what went on during the meeting.

At GPC a letter outlining what Councillors wished to discuss with Lord Triesman was discussed. Lord Triesman was due to visit the Falklands but due to scheduling problems with the aircraft he had to cancel his trip. One of the issues Councillors wanted to raise with him is Councillorsí attending the pre C-24 Conference in the Caribbean. The meeting could be during the budget session of Legislative Council and Dr. Davies may not be able to attend if it conflicts with the session.

Damage to Cerritos Corral was discussed with a view to getting repairs completed. It was decided that no one was responsible for the damage but that people had been negligent.

The Media visit that is presently being conducted was discussed as well as the situation with the Holdberg. Cllr Clausen will be looking into the decision-making process that allowed the vessel to do experimental fishing at Port Purvis during a weekend. Another as yet unnamed Councillor will look into the legal aspects of the incident in reference to stricken vessels in the Falkland Islands.

Councillors discussed another letter from Lord Rosendale, who wants representation of the Overseas Territories in the House of Lords. According to Cllr Summers, Councillors are not struck on the idea as it could weaken the Falklands position.

The Falklands have a place at the Westminster Seminar for new legislators. Cllr Clausen attended last year and Cllr Davies is slated to attend this year on 15 and 16 April.

GPC then met with the Chief Executive Mr. Chris Simpkins to discuss the Falklands Forum and how far along the planning was as well as asking about what happens to the fingerprint record taken during vetting for certain jobs. Cllr Summers said it was best to destroy the records but verifying this had some questions attached.

The issue about land behind the Tabernacle Free Church was discussed with the general opinion being it made sense to develop the area. The Fire Officer had objected to any development due to access problems. A Planning and Building application will be submitted in due course and it is hoped the area will be used for sheltered accommodation.

The Fire and Rescue Report is to be submitted to EXCO next month and it could be released after that if there are no issues that would need to be kept out of the public sector.

Discussions about the swap of land between FIG and FIC at the Racecourse were inconclusive. The balance of the land at Hansen Hill not being developed privately will be handed over to FIG for building 5 to 7 houses.

Meetings throughout the month were held with John Hamilton of Morrisons to review whether the company would be a suitable housing developer. It is important to note that they would not be building but developing housing.

There were no issues arising from a meeting with David Limbert. Apparently the Farmersí Co-op has sold some wool but there is no more info than that.

There was a meeting with Jane Rumble, the new Desk Officer for the Polar region. She had taken over from Mr. Richardson. Her responsibilities are with CCAMLR, the Antarctic and Climate change. Councillors asked her about the ocean Current work she would be doing in relation to climate change and how it will affect the Falklands.

HRH the Princess Royal also met with Councillors during January.

Councillors and the Chief Executive met about how to put structure to a complaints procedure and how it would work. A paper will go to EXCO next month. It is important that the procedure is independent from EXCO and Government decision-making procedures. However we canít have a system that lets everyone go everywhere and overwhelm the procedure. Questions about who the Commissioner of Complaints would report to and would it be equal to EXCO if Government structures and discipline processes are not working. Also there are questions about when to publish this paper and it is suggested it would be after the next EXCO for public comment.

There was a meeting with FOGLís Tim Bushell for an update of the companyís progress and a meeting with Mr. Neil Carrey of the National Audit Office about the quality of government in the Overseas Territories. There are a number of issues like concern about the ability of Foreign Office Staff, like desk officers for Hydrocarbons, for Fisheries, for the Falklands, etc who are in post for a very short time and are fairly junior staff.

There was a meeting with CJO Northwood to review the exercise. The opportunity was taken to raise the issue of the Airbridge. He will look into a system of better quality booking.

There was a public select committee meeting on the Criminal Justice Bill and a public meeting on the Road Traffic Bill.

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