Today’s thirtieth anniversary of the liberation of the Falkland Islands is an opportunity to remember all those who lost their lives in this conflict and to look forward to what the future holds for the Falklands.
It’s a time to pay tribute to the 255 UK servicemen who paid the ultimate price so that the people of the Falkland Islands could live in peace and in freedom. And it’s a time to express our huge debt of gratitude to all those servicemen who showed such astonishing courage to recapture the Islands. Their bravery reminds us that freedom is only won, and peace is only kept, because there are exceptionally brave people willing to journey to the other side of the world to lay their lives on the line.
Our resolve to support the Falkland Islanders has not wavered in the last thirty years and it will not in the years ahead. For the last 180 years, ten generations have called the Falkland Islands home and have strived hard to secure a prosperous future for their children. And despite the aggressive threats from over the water, they are succeeding. The Falklands economy is growing, the fishing industry is thriving and tourism is flourishing. Next year’s referendum will establish the definitive choice of the Falkland Islanders once and for all. And just as we have stood up for the Falkland Islanders in the past, so we will in the future.
I was privileged to attend a service to mark the 30th anniversary of the Falklands conflict, organised by the Falmouth branch of the Royal Naval Association (RNA) earlier this year.