Ascension : Letter From Sue & Neil McFall
Submitted by The Islander (Gavin Yon) 19.01.2006 (Article Archived on 02.02.2006)
We were horrified to read Caz's letter in the Guardian about the FCO's position on residency rights (or should I say lack of them).
We were horrified to read Caz's letter in the Guardian about the FCO's position on residency rights (or should I say lack of them). Also we have been following the island's response in the Islander with great interest. In support of all who are so dismayed and affected by the news we have written a letter to our MP and he has promised to let us know what the Minister in charge of this area has to say. We don't know if anything will come of this approach but I guess it is better than doing nothing.
A copy of our letter is attached and we just want you all to know that this "Gang of Two" will do whatever we can to help.
Regards to all our friends
Sue and Neil MacFall
Neil & Sue MacFall
6th January 2006
Dear Sir Peter,
For some years my husband and I worked on Ascension Island and we were very pleased when the FCO and British Government agreed for that lovely island to have it’s own council, establish previously unobtainable residency rights and to open the island up for private enterprise and future tourism.
As you can see by the attached letter that appeared in the Guardian on December 8th, written by a well-respected member of the island council, the British Government appears to have reneged on this agreement and the whole issue of residency rights appears to have been at best shelved and at worst abolished.
The people who work on Ascension are mainly St Helenian in origin and as such are extremely loyal to the Crown to the extent that many of them served in the British Forces and in a civilian capacity in many wars and the tradition continues to this day with St Helenian men serving in Iraq with the British Forces.
Some islanders have already sunk their life savings into establishing much needed services such as retail outlets, petrol services, a bakery etc on the island and now it seems as though their enterprise and willingness to believe in the justice of the British Government is to be sadly disappointed. Many stand to lose their money, livelihood, homes on the island and all hope of a democratic future if they are not granted that which was promised to them.
Please could you spare a little time to consider the plight of these islanders and hopefully try to help persuade the FCO to think again. We, and many other people who have become very fond of this far-flung outpost through working there, would very much appreciate your support.
Sue and Neil MacFall