Friday 23 February 2018

Only three Falklanders vote to break with Britain

Neil Tweedie Port Stanley

After the victory – the speculation.

So who are the "Falklands Three", the trio of dissenters who voted 'No' to the Falkland Islands remaining as an overseas territory of the UK.

That was the inevitable subject of conversation in Port Stanley yesterday, together with satisfaction at the resounding victory for the 'Yes' vote in a referendum on the future of the territory.

Of 1,518 votes cast during the two-day poll, 1,513 came out in favour of maintaining the islands' current political status, representing 99.8pc.

One ballot paper was rejected and one remained unaccounted for after the count on Monday night. That left three people who desire either immediate independence from Britain or a transfer of sovereignty, presumably to Argentina, which claims the islands as its own.

Stanley is a small place – the islands have a population of only 2,900 permanent and guest residents – and most things do not remain secret for long, apart from a secret ballot.

"There will be some people who will do their best to find out," says John Fowler of the islands' newspaper, 'Penguin News'. "I hope they don't succeed because those three people added a certain validity to the whole exercise."

Just as impressive was the turnout in the referendum, organised by the Falkland Islands government in response to renewed pressure from Argentina.

Of the 1,649 islanders eligible, 92pc cast their vote, dismissing concerns of a display of apathy. As expected, Argentina, which invaded the Falklands in 1982, dismissed the poll as a ploy to mask the weakness of the British claim to the islands.

But British Prime Minister David Cameron called on Buenos Aires to "take careful note" of the wishes of their inhabitants.

Sybie Summers, owner of the Pod gift shop on Stanley's chilly waterfront, was in less than forgiving mood about the three 'No' voters. "I don't know who they are but if they're not standing up for our islands then they shouldn't be here," she said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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