Falklands politician talks of devastating impact of the conflict

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Residents of the Falklands are working hard to develop a self-sufficient economy decades after the war over the islands finished, a Government official has said.

Teslyn Barkman, who chairs the Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly, told the PA news wire that the impact of the invasion by Argentine troops in 1982 was “devastating”.

A series of events is being held in the UK and the Falklands in the coming months to mark the 40th anniversary of the conflict.

In an interview on the ninth anniversary of a self-determination referendum by Falkland residents, she said: “As a Falkland Islander I know my existence is an annoyance to the agenda of a much larger country, Argentina.

“Our history has mostly been peaceful until the creep of a claim by Argentina started to be shouted across the water. We had to adapt and protest for our human rights in reaction to the volume of their efforts.

“Sadly, my home was invaded by Argentine forces in 1982 and the effect this had on my home was devastating. Falkland Islanders lived through a terrifying war that would decide whether they had a future.”

“We have also facilitated visits from the families of those identified, recognising that dignity is something everyone should be granted.

“There has also been a long effort funded by the UK Government to remove 35,000 Argentine anti-tank and anti-personnel landmines.

“Unfortunately, there is still a high level of propaganda that Argentina spreads.

“On top of this, our people continue to deal with economic sanctions and diplomatic efforts to unwrite the history of our people.

“To counter the propaganda, my country stood up in 2013 to declare to the world that they wanted to remain a self-governing British Overseas Territory. 92% of Falkland Islanders voted and 99.8% agreed with that position.

“We reaffirmed our wish to be a part of Global Britain with a decisive vote that was also externally verified.

“Since 1982, we have worked hard to develop a self-sufficient economy and future for the Falklands and this has not always been simple.

“I am proud of what we have achieved and hope one day that we will not have to explain our right to self-determination, our right to peace, to the world.”

The Falklands has one million penguins, half a million sheep, but just 3,200 people, in a country the size of Northern Ireland, or half the size of Wales.

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