Falklanders vow to out the three who voted ‘no’ to UK

Far from being the little England of its caricature, the Falklands has absorbed a wide range of immigrants in recent years. (AFP)

Far from being the little England of its caricature, the Falklands has absorbed a wide range of immigrants in recent years. (AFP)

But for the three Falkland islanders who voted no in the referendum, and who now find themselves marooned in a sea of 1513 yeses, this must be a nervy time.

“Last night down at the Whalebone Arch, with the cameras and everything, everybody was saying: I wonder who those three people were?” says Cathy Jacobsen, landlady at the Victory Bar in Stanley.

“We said we would all club together and get them tickets to Argentina.” She sounds about three-quarters joking.

And, in fact, this may not fairly represent those nos. The question they answered was: “Do you wish the Falkland Islands to retain their current political status as an overseas territory of the United Kingdom?”

The refusals are a stain on the result for some islanders.

Indeed, Jacobsen says she is surprised that the yes vote came in below 100% and has no idea – who might have demurred – yet. “In a small community, it won’t take long to find out who voted no,” she says. If this sounds unfriendly, she insists the consequences will be mild. I think people would be a bit annoyed with them, they would say their piece, and that would be it. They might lose a few friends.”

Far from being the little England of its caricature, the Falklands has absorbed a wide range of immigrants in recent years. Only around 53% of the inhabitants are natives and most speak highly of the Chileans, Saint Helenians, Filipinos and others who have joined them.

Down at the West Store shopping centre, the manager of the appliance shop, Liam Short, sees things differently. He voted yes, but still expected a much larger no vote – and lost a bet because of it.

Was he aware of anybody actually calling for a no? “I did speak to one person and they were saying they were going to vote no,” he says, “more for a reason of independence. – © Guardian News & Media 201

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