Contact: Lee O’Hanlon,
PR and Creative
Tel: 07912 762850
PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Falklands residents tell Argentina:
“We have our OWN voice.”
Open letter to Cristina Kirchner from Falklands United - a collection of Falkland Islanders that have OUR own voice
Dear Ms Kirchner
For many years YOU have been publicly expressing far too readily what YOU think should happen to OUR home, the Falkland Islands.
As Falkland Islanders we thought that we would take this moment to share our thoughts with you and correct some rather glaring factual mistakes on your part. You haven’t asked us to date, or even acknowledged us, but nonetheless we feel it is important that OUR voices are heard.
We have our own Government, Legislative Assembly, Executive Council, judiciary – we have OUR own voice. Our voice is a Falklands voice and not a Las Malvinas voice as you rather rudely insist in referring to us as.
We live here because we want to. Our home is a British Overseas Territory, not a Colony as you seemingly wish to convince people. Through our right to self-determination as enshrined by the United Nations we can choose to associate ourselves with whomever we so choose. We choose to maintain our relationship with the United Kingdom in this way.
Since the British reassertion of rule in 1833, through the wishes of the islands inhabitants (who have all immigrated and settled voluntarily for the past 180 years) we are a proud Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom sharing many values, traditions and customs including free choice – something you appear to have no regard for.
We asked our residents what they think. Krysteen Ormond, a Stanley local, echoes the thoughts of many of us that it is: "…our right as Falkland Islanders to self-determination. Our voice has to be the most important one in any conversation about the islands, as it is our home and our future being debated."
Another resident, Teslyn Barkman, explains: "[Your] government’s hounding attempts to colonise our land armed only with ridiculous claims and a UN resolution from a charter that would only support our right to self-determination are exhausting to hear but we live in hope that one day they’ll realise how absurd and undemocratic they sound."
We have never been prouder of our association with the United Kingdom and our unique relationship. Any decision to change that would be OUR and not YOUR choice.
In 1982 we didn’t have a voice. In 2013 we do. We are OUR own people and we have a right to OUR own democracy and to where OUR sovereignty lies.
We look forward to our referendum in March of this year and failure on your part to accept the outcome will prove to the world that there is only one colonial power in the region.
1592 First recorded sighting on August 14, by English sea captain John Davis in the ship ‘Desire’.
1690 First recorded landing made by English navigator, Captain John Strong in his ship the ‘Welfare’. He named the channel dividing the two main islands ‘Falkland Sound’ after Viscount Falkland, then Treasurer of the Royal Navy.
Over the years several French ships visited the Islands, which they called Les Iles Malouines after the French port of St. Malo.
1740 Lord Anson passed the Islands on an exploration voyage and urged Britain to consider them as a preliminary step to establishing a base near Cape Horn.
1764 The French diplomat and explorer, Louis Antoine de Bougainville, established a settlement at Port Louis on East Falkland.
1765 Unaware of the French settlement, Commodore John Byron landed at Port Egmont on West Falkland and took possession of the Islands for the British Crown.
1766 Captain John MacBride established a British settlement at Port Egmont.
The Spanish Government protested about the French settlement and Bougainville was forced to surrender his interests in the Islands in return for an agreed sum of money. A Spanish Governor was appointed and Port Louis was renamed Puerto de la Soledad, and placed under the jurisdiction of the Captain-General of Buenos Aires; then a Spanish colony.
1770 British forced from Port Egmont by the Spanish.
1771 Serious diplomatic negotiations involving Britain, Spain and France produce the Exchange of Declarations, whereby Port Egmont was restored to Britain.
1774 Britain withdrew from Port Egmont on economic grounds as part of a redeployment of forces due to the approaching American War of Independence, leaving behind a plaque as the mark of continuing British sovereignty.
1811 The Spanish garrison withdrew from Puerto de la Soledad. At this time, South American colonies were in a state of revolt against Spain.
1816 The provinces which constituted the old Spanish vice-royalty declared independence from Spain as the United Provinces of the River Plate.
1820 A Buenos Aires privateer claimed the Falkland Islands in what was probably an unauthorised act – which was never reported to the Buenos Aires government. No occupation followed this.
1823 A private attempt was made to establish a settlement on the Islands, but this failed after a few months. The organisers requested the Buenos Aires government to appoint one of their employees the unpaid ‘Commander’ of the settlement.
1825 Britain and the Government of Buenos Aires signed a Treaty of Amity, Trade and Navigation. No reference was made to the Falkland Islands.
1826 Louis Vernet, a naturalised citizen of Buenos Aires (originally French with German connections), undertook a private venture and established a new settlement at Puerto de la Soledad.
1829 Buenos Aires appointed Vernet unpaid Commander of his concession in the Falkland Islands and Tierra del Fuego, on the grounds that they claimed all rights in the region previously exercised by Spain. Britain registered a formal protest, asserting her own sovereignty over the Falkland Islands.
Vernet made the first of several approaches to Britain then to re-assert its sovereignty over the Islands. Earlier he had got the British Consul in Buenos Aires to countersign his land grants.
1831 Vernet seized three American sealing ships, in an attempt to control fishing in Falkland waters. In retaliation, the US sloop ‘Lexington’ destroyed Puerto de la Soledad, and proclaimed the Islands ‘free of all government’. Most of the settlers were persuaded to leave on board the ‘Lexington’.
1832 Diplomatic relations between the US and Argentina broke down until 1844. Supporting Britain, the US questioned the claim that all Spanish possessions had been transferred to the Government of Buenos Aires and confirmed its use of the Falklands as a fishing base for over 50 years. The US declared that Spain had exercised no sovereignty over several coasts to which Buenos Aires claimed to be heir, including Patagonia.
Buenos Aires appointed an interim Commander to the Islands, Commander Mestivier, who arrived (with a tiny garrison and some convicts) about a month before Britain re-asserted its claim at Port Egmont.
1833 Commander Mestivier had been murdered by his own men by the time Captain Onslow sailed from Port Egmont in the warship ‘Clio’ and took over Port Louis, claiming the Islands for Britain.
Buenos Aires protested, only to be told: “The British Government upon this occasion has only exercised its full and undoubted right … The British Government at one time thought it inexpedient to maintain any Garrison in those Islands: It has now altered its views, and has deemed it proper to establish a Post there.”
Since this time, British administration has remained unbroken apart from a ten week Argentine occupation in 1982.
1845 Stanley officially became the capital of the Islands when Governor Moody moved the administration from Port Louis. The capital was so named after the Colonial Secretary of the day, Edward Geoffrey Smith Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby.
1914 Battle of the Falkland Islands, one of the major naval engagements of the First World War in which British victory secured the Cape Horn passage for the remainder of the war.
1965 United Nations Assembly passed Resolution 2065, following lobbying by Argentina. This reminded members of the organisation’s pledge to end all forms of colonialism. Argentine and British Governments were called upon to negotiate a peaceful solution to the sovereignty dispute, bringing the issue to international attention formally for the first time.
1966 Through diplomatic channels, Britain and Argentina began discussions in response to UN Assembly pressure.
1967 The Falkland Islands Emergency Committee was set up by influential supporters in the UK to lobby the British Government against any weakening on the sovereignty issue. In April, the Foreign Secretary assured the House of Commons that the Islanders’ interests were paramount in any discussions with Argentina.
1971 Communications Agreement was signed by the British and Argentine governments whereby external communications would be provided to the Falkland Islands by Argentina.
1982 On 2 April Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands and diplomatic relations between the two nations were broken off. Argentine troops occupied the Islands for ten weeks before being defeated by the British. The Argentines surrendered on 14 June, now known as Liberation Day.
1990 Diplomatic relations between Britain and Argentina were restored.
1999 At the instigation of Falkland Islands Councillors, a Joint Statement was signed between the British and Argentine Governments on 14 July. This was designed ‘to build confidence and reduce tension’ between the Islands and Argentina. Two Councillors from the Islands witnessed the signing on behalf of the Falkland Islands Government.
2009 Following almost ten years of discussion and negotiation, a new Constitution for the Falkland Islands took effect on 1 January 2009. Marking an important milestone in the history of the Falkland Islands, the new Constitution provides enhanced local democracy and internal self-government, and enshrines the right of self-determination.