A FORMER resident of the Falkland Islands now living in Swindon is hoping that the results of an election on the island’s sovereignty will give authority to those who believe they should remain part of Britain.
Falkland Islanders went to the polls on Sunday and Monday and are expected to vote overwhelmingly in favour of retaining their status as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom.
Argentina has been increasingly vocal over what they believe are rightful claims to control of the islands.
“The people of the Falkland Islands have never been in any doubt about wanting to stay part of the United Kingdom,” said Terry Allan, who was born and raised on the South Atlantic islands but now lives in Grange Park.
“This vote is about giving the Falklands’ government a voice that has been backed up with a proper democratic vote.”
But Terry, 54, does not believe that the Argentinians will take much notice of the outcome.
“They will try to put down the vote and do everything they can to discredit it despite having a turnout of around 95 per cent and being overseen by outside monitors as they do not think the residents should have any say on the issue.
“However, if the turnout had been lower they would happily have used the result to try and claim sovereignty over the islands.”
Argentina has spent the last several months trying to force David Cameron into discussions over the long term future of the islands. The Argentine president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, believes the Falklands belong to Argentina for geographic and historical reasons.
However, Mr Allan believes that the true cause for trying to claim the Falklands, or Las Malvinas as they are known in South America, is to distract Argentinian voters from the state of their own economy.
“If you think the problems in this country are bad they are nothing compared to the state of Argentina’s economy. It’s also no coincidence that Argentine interest in the Falklands has picked up since oil was discovered nearby.”
Terry left the Falklands in 1976 but he still has many family members living on the island. “My mum lives there as well as my two sisters and many nieces and nephews so I regularly visit. There is no doubt that the islands are British.
“There are some families who are now eighth or ninth generation and the feel of the island is very similar to here.”
There is increasing international pressure on the UK to enter into talks with Argentina but David Cameron has so far refused, believing that it is the right of the Falkland Islanders to decide their own future.
Argentina has banned any ships registered in the Falklands from docking in its ports and in 2011 Miss Kirchner described Britain as a “crass colonial power in decline”.
However Terry believes that this aggressive attitude from the South American country is not helping the situation which could be resolved if the sabre rattling was reduced. - Michael Benke