On Monday 30th May, the Falkland Islands Chamber of Commerce hosted a working lunch to allow members of the business community to meet with The Rt Hon Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the UK House of Commons, and The Rt Hon Amanda Milling MP, UK Member of Parliament & Minister for Asia and the Middle East. This was the first delegation the Chamber has received since the Falkland Islands relaxed its COVID-19 restrictions on May 4th 2022.
The Chamber invited members from businesses across the community and representatives from other business associations to a roundtable discussion to provide Sir Lindsay and Amanda with an overview of the breadth of economic activities underway in the Islands and the challenges our business community face.
After welcoming the attendees and making introductions, Chamber Chairperson, Mike Summers, kicked off the discussions with an overview of the Falkland Islands private sector, highlighting important issues such as how the UK supports the Falklands’ self-determination, the importance of marine managed areas and support for ongoing development.
Cheryl Roberts, Chair of FIFCA (Falkland Islands Fishing Companies Association), then provided an overview of the fishing industry, engaging in discussions over rising costs and tariffs introduced by Brexit. Of particular importance to the Falkland Islands fishing industry were international collaboration and the need to form a regional management group for fisheries in the southwest Atlantic.
Next, Lewis Clifton from the RBA (Rural Business Association) provided some historical context on the Falklands farming community and how land ownership had been better managed since the publication of the 1976 Shackleton report. Lewis also highlighted how environmental issues are of vital importance, with drying land a genuine concern, but that there are also future opportunities around carbon sequestration and tourism.
The focus then shifted to hydrocarbons, with the Pippa Christie, representing FIPLA (Falkland Islands Petroleum Licensees Association), describing the continuing challenges and opportunities surrounding the development of the industry in the Islands, and how this has changed over recent months.
Brian Summers, Chair of FITA (Falkland Islands Tourist Association), continued the conversation on tourism, noting the Falkland Islands Government’s support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Brian explained that cruise ships were starting to make plans to return to the Falkland Islands for the next summer season, mainly expedition ships heading to Antarctica. However, it was vital air links were reestablished, and it was hoped that the government’s targets of 2nd July for the Chile link and November for the Sao Paulo link would be met.
The discussion was then opened up to the room, where topics such as imports, MoD procurement, flights, shipping, communications, professional services and banking were discussed. With the adverse weather meaning that this was the last event of their tour in the Falklands, the session concluded with a buffet provided by Malvina House Hotel before Lindsay and Amanda departed via helicopter to Mount Pleasant Complex to ensure they could board their flight back to the UK.
We want to thank Lindsay and Amanda for visiting us during their tour and listening to all of our members who attended. We would also like to thank our colleagues from other membership associations for attending to represent their particular sectors: the Falkland Islands Fishing Companies Association (FIFCA), the Falkland Islands Rural Business Association (RBA), the Falkland Islands Tourist Association (FITA), and the Falkland Islands Petroleum Licensees Association (FIPLA).