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Falklanders face crucial questions as referendum draws near

Alicia Dunkley-Willis

Tuesday, October 02, 2012    

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STANLEY, Falkland islands — The Falkland Islands, over which British and Argentine forces waged war in 1982, has "some crucial questions to decide about its future", Ambassador to Chile Jon Benjamin said.

The archipelagic islands, located in the south Atlantic Ocean and which were originally discovered by Europe, have been a source of contention between both countries with Argentina advancing that the self-governing territory is rightly theirs.

Speaking to a group of Caribbean journalists en route to the Falklands in Chile last Friday, Ambassador Benjamin said there are "lots of key issues on the agenda" for the territory, which will hold a referendum in 2013 as part of its move to determine its political future.

The quest, he said, was not about independence but about "self-determination" for the just under 3,000 Falklanders who live there "who have the absolute right to decide for themselves how they want to be governed, and not to have others' wishes imposed upon them".

Among the issues Falklanders must grapple with is the way forward if current oil explorations lead to discoveries of the substance in quantities which would make them commercially viable. The question of an adequate labour force as well as the right infrastructure must also be answered by Falklanders as well.

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