By Lisa Watson: MEMBER of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Emma Edwards has been removed from the Falkland Islands Tourist Board, of which she was Chair, and the portfolio transferred to MLA Mike Summers.
A statement from Gilbert House, supported by six of her colleagues, this week cited her as having, "deep reservations" about certain aspects of the Tourism Development Strategy which is a formal government policy, adding, she was "quite clearly opposed to official policy in some areas."
MLA Edwards denies this however, saying she had not opposed the agreed policy, but had, "questioned the due process and the dissemination of information."
The government statement said: "The tourism portfolio holder is an elected Member whose duty is to carry out agreed policy. The Hon Emma Edwards' fundamental opposition to some areas of the policy has led to her position becoming untenable."
It added, "If any Member does hold deeply opposing views to any approved Falkland Islands Government policy, then we would not expect that Member to continue in a post whose role is to promote and further those aims."
MLA Edwards said, she agreed that a Tourism Strategy was agreed by Executive Council, but viewed this as a "working document open to refinement with the time lines and execution of the policy not set in stone.
"As an individual member I am entitled to hold an opinion and I am entitled to have reservations upon the timing and implementation of any matter still to be finalised. I have not opposed the agreed policy.
"However, I have voiced concerns over how one particular tourist project should be moved forward, I have not in any way attempted to obstruct a fully considered and agreed government enactment, but have questioned the due process and the dissemination of information.
"As the portfolio holder I believed it was my duty to ensure that all parties with a stake in the process needed to be informed of what was going on."
MLA Edwards also condemned how she was removed, saying it was carried out "behind closed doors."
Although the FIG statement suggested she chose not to be part of the process, MLA Edwards said: "I was offered a meeting with MLAs retrospectively. However, the timings of the meetings offered clashed with other commitments, and a meeting time I proposed was not suitable either."
MLA Edwards said she had still not met with he fellow MLAs at the time of their press release on Thursday.