In a very clear expression of self-determination and loyalty to the Crown, the people of the Falkland Islands have voted overwhelmingly in favour of remaining a UK overseas territory.
The referendum had asked a simple question: “Do you wish the Falkland Islands to retain their current political status as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom?” Over 90% of the island’s population eligible to vote took part in the referendum, and of 1,517 votes cast 1,513 were in favour, with only three people voting against.
Nigel Haywood, Governor of the Falkland Islands, said: “Obviously it is a major principle of the United Nations that a people have their right to self-determination, and you don’t get a much clearer expression of the people’s self-determination than such a large turnout and such a large ‘yes’ vote.”
Dick Sawle, a member of the island’s legislative assembly, said it was an “absolutely phenomenal result which will send out the strongest possible message to the rest of the world about our right to self-determination – a right that was fought for in 1982, and which we have honoured tonight. The islanders had very, very clearly said they wish to remain as a British overseas territory with those rights”.
Britain welcomed the news and Foreign Secretary William Hague said: “We have always been clear that we believe in the rights of the Falklands people to determine their own futures and to decide on the path they wish to take. It is only right that, in the 21st Century, these rights are respected. All countries should accept the results of this referendum and support the Falkland islanders as they continue to develop their home and their economy. I wish them every success in doing so.”