Falklands: Foreign Office chief surprised by development of islands
Following the surrender of the invading Argentine forces, on the occasion of the anticipated intense activity in the Falkland Islands to commemorate the liberation of the islands in June 1982, the British Foreign Ministry sent a high-ranking representative and with the development of a busy schedule of events and visits. Specialists to help the Casa de Goberno (Residence of the Governor).
It is Jamie Mansbridge, deputy director of the Falklands and Southern Ocean team of the Office of Foreign Affairs and Development, who describes his experience in an open letter, thanking you for the welcome and to the island-nation for what has been built with you over the four decades. Congratulations look to the future. ,
“As everyone in the UK prepared for summer, I packed my winter clothes, brushed off my hat, scarf and gloves during the event season in support of Government House in the middle of the southern winter for six weeks. On the occasion of the fortieth anniversary. During that period I was fortunate enough to be welcomed by the Falkland Islanders, to advance Liberation Day commemorations, visited by two of the UK’s top VIPs, as well as being caught in several snow storms.
During those weeks I had the privilege of being integrated into the island community, serving the staff and veterans who had come to the island for a series of heartfelt memorial events.
For me, the most moving was Goose Grain Liberation Day, on the snow-covered ridge above the settlement, often with horizontal gusts. As the piper raised moaning voices on the frozen stage and the wreath was laid, the context of Koshima (translated) forcefully came to mind.
“When you return to your home, tell them about us and tell them that their tomorrow, we give them our today”
The celebrations undoubtedly revived strong memories for the veterans, remembering the comrades they lost, as well as equally strong feelings for those who suffered from the 1982 Argentine invasion.
To say that the Falklands conflict of 1982 marked a change would be an understatement, an understatement. The Falklands have changed a lot in the last forty years. The population has almost doubled, with more than sixty nationalities now calling the islands home, from Chile to Zimbabwe, St. Helens to Filipinos.
And in truth, perhaps nothing symbolizes the Falkland Islands more than the reception at the Government House on Philippine Day in the 21st century, with Filipino cuisine, prepared by Chilean chefs (and yes, I actually tasted those dishes a lot). !)
Despite my efforts, I barely managed to survive those extra seven kilos, Stanley Brands, if well I can’t try!
Prosperity is evident in the islands, from the quality of the infrastructure to the abundance of new cars on the roads. It is impressive to think that in 1992, the island’s economy was worth some £23 million in value by 2022, and today it is over £200 million.
Seeing gentoo penguins in York Bay was a real privilege, although I would have to return to see the other four varieties of penguins that are unique to the Falklands.
The Falklands also happens to be the smallest jurisdiction in the world to have a credit rating of the order of an incredible A+ from rating agency Standard & Poor’s: thanks to the vast and meticulous management of the community’s money during the past forty years.
When asked the question, was it worth it?, to me it is inconvenient because it requires deep and inconvenient calculations about the value of human life. Of course the cost of liberating the Falklands was enormous, with three islanders, 255 UK fighters killed and about 800 wounded, and many, many other lives changed forever. As well as the permanent trauma left by assault and possession.
Before my trip I took myself back to 1992, realizing that the experience of an invasion would have been all the more painful, I did so knowing that the UK task force had indeed gone south and achieved the liberation of the islands. They did an excellent job in correcting my point of view (and if you haven’t seen it, I heartily recommend that you do), considering the excellent exhibition “‘Recorded in Memory'” at the National Museum of the Islands.
On April 2, 1982, armored personnel carriers emerged in Stanley, the only thing that could be known was that your islands, your homes, were invaded by troops under the command of a military junta that held power in Argentina was. And although the exact extent of the human rights violations committed by the military junta was not fully known, enough rumors had leaked out to make it clear that the said regime was not known for its strict adherence to human rights. , I can only imagine the shock, dread, dread and tension felt by those who woke up that morning in the Falkland Islands.
So was it worth it? yes of course. Never forget the cost, but what they have built over the past forty years is the answer to that question. They have built a thriving, dynamic, diverse island-nation with a thriving economy and growing population. But above all they have the right to do so during the defense. The job of me and my colleagues in the Foreign Office today is to continue to defend that right.
Incredibly, Argentina argues as official policy that you have no right to self-determination and that your country should be incorporated into your country against your will.
On the train home from RAF Bridge Norton Base, my mind changed to come back from the Falklands. Aside from a few extra kilos (thanks to the unmatched beef cuts, excellent squid and world champion tortas), it was a deep appreciation of the decades-long work by the islands to ensure that the 1982 sacrifice was properly compensated.
And as they fight to protect your unmatched beautiful islands, and your children’s future, the Falklands team at the Foreign Office work tirelessly to tell the world your success story, and that your self-determination The right is recognized. This is my part in repaying the 1982 sacrifice. Lastly, I would like to thank everyone who generously welcomed a confused (and sometimes very tired!) member of the Foreign Office. I enjoyed every minute in your wonderful country!