MLA Barry Elsby and young Islander Krysteen Ormond engaged with journalists, government officials, civil society leaders, and students to explain the results of the recent referendum to remain a British territory, to make their case for self-determination, and their strong wish to enhance relations with their Latin American neighbours, including Guatemala.
With the assistance of the British Embassy they met with the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carlos Raul Morales, and the President of Foreign Affairs Commission at Congress, Mario Taracena. The Falkland Islanders expressed their desire to grow commercial and cultural ties with Guatemala; and encouraged Guatemalans to visit the Islands, to see at first hand the reality of life on the islands.
At the conclusion of the visit MLA Barry Elsby said:
As with other countries we have visited in the region, people in Guatemala are willing to listen to how the Falkland Islands have developed into a self governing and self financing country. They also recognise the importance of our recent referendum, representing as it does the wishes of the people of the Falkland Islands and the desire for self determination.
British Ambassador to Guatemala, Sarah Dickson, said:
It was important for Guatemalans to hear direct from Falkland Islanders about their strong desire for self-determination. The UK has made clear that we believe in the rights of the Islanders to be able to choose their path. They did so in March when they voted overwhelmingly to remain a British territory. All countries should respect the results of the referendum. I’m sure that improved links between Guatemala and the Falkland Islands will be of mutual benefit to both countries.