Ceremonies for the Grant of Falkland Islands Status
The introduction of ceremonies for the Grant of Falkland Islands Status (Status) was recently agreed by Executive Council and the final amendments to the Falkland Islands Status Ordinance were passed by Legislative Council in May 2007. Under the new arrangements Executive Council considers applications for Status four times a year in January, April, July and October and advises the Governor as to whether or not they may be granted. Status does not now become effective immediately on approval of an application: the grantee must now attend a Status Ceremony and make the Status Pledge which is worded as follows:
I –name---pledge my loyalty to the Falkland Islands and will respect its rights and freedoms. I will uphold its democratic values. I will obey its laws and fulfil my duties and obligations under its Constitution.
Status Ceremonies, lasting one hour, will normally take place within one month of approval of an application. The fee for a Status Ceremony is paid by the applicant together with, and in addition to, the Status application fee. The grantee may invite a maximum of eight guests to their Status Ceremony and the Governor, wearing his uniform, presides over the proceedings. The Councillor holding the portfolio for immigration and the Principal Immigration Officer, or their delegates, also attend.
The first ceremony for the grant of Falkland Islands Status was held in the Court and Council Chamber on Friday 17th August when Mrs Cherie Clifford, in the company of family and friends, made and signed the Status Pledge and then received her Certicate of Falkland Islands Status from His Excellency the Governor. The Governor made a short welcoming speech and then invited Mrs Clifford to complete the formalities. The Honourable Janet Robertson, Councillor for immigration, also made a short speech in which she congratulated Mrs Clifford on the grant of Status; Councillor Robertson also explained that the grant of Falkland Islands Status is considered to be of very great significance as it is the closest thing to “citizenship” that the Falkland Islands can grant to good immigrants. Champagne and soft drinks were then served and the Governor proposed a toast to “Her Majesty the Queen and the Falkland Islands”.