‘The Falklands offer a different lifestyle, but if you like it you tend to really like it,’ says MP Leona Roberts – MercoPress
“The Falklands offer a different lifestyle, but if you like it, you tend to really like it,” said MP Leona Roberts.
“The Falkland Islands is a fun place, it’s not for everyone, it’s quite a different lifestyle, but if you like it you tend to really like it. People who come to the Falklands and settle in the islands usually stay,” MP Leona Roberts told Spanish news agency EFE, in an interview at Falklands House in London.
“It’s how it has always been and this trend continues,” adds the Falklands lawmaker. The Falklands are a multicultural community, with some 3,200 people and around 60 different nationalities. There are Falklanders, Britons, Saint Helena, Chileans and to a lesser extent Uruguayans, Peruvians, Brazilians, Argentineans, Filipinos and some from Zimbabwe, many of whom have arrived for work and have decided to live with their families on the islands.
Everyone is welcome, “including Argentines” and can opt for a British passport after five years of residence in the islands, but before settling they must arrive with a contract of work and residence, underlines the MP Leona Roberts who also points out that her family has been in the Falklands for nine generations.
The influx of people of different origins in the forty years since the end of the war sparked by the Argentine invasion of the islands, which ended with the defeat of the invaders and the Liberation on June 14, 1982, contributed to create this cultural fusion, and an open but close-knit, cohesive community.
According to Leona, it has also led to greater gastronomic opportunities, which are not limited to the traditional mutton and potatoes of the diet of Falkland sheep farmers. Diversification has meant fish, the proliferation of empanadas along with Chilean wines, Asian dishes and other exquisite exotic surprises.
“Even our English sausage rolls are different, we make them with ground lamb, onions and herbs with a heartier dough, plus we have our half-morning, ‘smoko’, a cup of tea with a good slice of cake, which comes from the tradition of sheep farming”.
But despite the multicultural diversity, “we are Falkland Islands, proud people who have lived on the islands for generations, my family nine, and based on our right to self-determination, we are also proud of our links, association with the UK,” said MP Roberts.
“The Falklands are self-sufficient, receive no aid or subsidies from the UK, we are self-governing, whether for defense and foreign affairs. The economy has fishing as the main component, 53% of GDP, followed by tourism and agriculture”
However, that doesn’t mean the Falklands don’t have problems. Brexit, the UK’s exit from the European Union has impacted meat exports and squid sales to Spain, where access tariffs have to be paid, “and which we are trying to resolve. …”
But it is also a problem for Spain since the port of Vigo has an important trade with the Falklands, the trawlers of the Falklands are built in Galician shipyards, “so we are in permanent dialogue with all those who, in our opinion , can help us meet this challenge”
Finally, no intent or intent to abandon the close association with the UK, or Falklanders changing their minds about ‘our close identity with the British family’.
In 2013 a referendum was held, with international observers including an Argentinian, and the people of the Falklands turned out en masse and overwhelmingly, 99.8%, voted to remain as a British territory of ‘overseas. Only three people did not vote to stay.
“Self-determination is fundamental and essential, no need for a second referendum. In 2013, one of the reasons for holding it was that the Argentinians were claiming that the British had locked us up at gunpoint in the islands, … nonsense”. MP Roberts added: “We understand the Scottish independence debate and I believe they are planning or hoping for another.”