Portsmouth set to build on global reach with Sister City link status with Falkland Islands as well as Halifax in Canada
PORTSMOUTH is set to build on its world trading relationships and desire to be a global city with its proposal to formalise Sister City links with the Falkland Islands as well as a Halifax in Canada.
The move would see the deepening of mutually beneficial relationships to boost trade and jobs for all, as well as strengthen political and educational links. The move to formalise links with the Falklands has been welcomed by veterans.
A cabinet meeting at Portsmouth City Council will make the Sister City link status official if ratified as expected by councillors next Tuesday. The status is a more powerful connection than just the ‘ceremonial’ twinning of cities.
The relationship between the Falklands and Portsmouth began with the Falklands War in 1982 and now sees the Falklands flag fly all year round in the city, showing the ‘strong relationship’ between the two.
Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of the council, said the move was the ‘sensible thing to do’ to advance the causes of all sides, which had shared strong historical ties.
But he said: ‘It’s not just about the historic links, it is also about the future.
‘It will benefit trade and jobs in Portsmouth but also trade and jobs in Halifax and the Falklands.
‘We are building on our trading relationships across the world. Producing investment and trade is good for Portsmouth and Halifax and the Falklands. Everyone benefits.’
In the Falklands, which marks the 40th anniversary of the war next year, the bond will be enhanced in a number of ways.
‘We have expertise and advice that they can use. It could be helping with school improvements or social services,’ Cllr Vernon-Jackson said.
‘We’d also like to work on trade from the Falklands with fishing, which we’d like to come to Portsmouth.’
Highlighting the business link between the two already, the leader of the council said the Gosport ferry company was owned by The Falkland Islands Holdings.
Barrie Jones, a former naval petty officer on HMS Intrepid during the Falklands who has been pushing for the strengthening of ties between Portsmouth and the islands, said: ‘It is great news.
‘Myself and friend Steve Sedgwick have been pushing for this for the last five years. It has been slow going.’
Barrie, who has also been trying to cement ties between Portsmouth and Gibraltar said the expected announcement on the Falklands could boost the chances of the same happening in Gibraltar. ‘We can now throw this into the mix with Gibraltar,’ he said.
The Falkland Islands government is also looking forward to the new status. ‘We are very excited about it,’ Richard Hyslop, the Falkland Islands government representative for the UK and Europe said.
‘We already have strong links with Portsmouth from the war and this will take the relationship on to the next level.
‘We don’t want this to just be a civic or ceremonial thing. We want it to be a lot more alive where we work together on a range of issues with officials working together, politicians and school children.’
Meanwhile in the fast growing Halifax - the largest naval base in Canada based on the east coast - Portsmouth already has prosperous connections.
Halifax - the capital of Nova Scotia - is the home of the Royal Canadian Navy which has had links with Portsmouth's naval base dating back to 1759.
The report to members of the cabinet meeting said: ‘The recent sale of the Type 26 frigate to the Royal Canadian Navy and the decision by the Canadian government to build the ships in Halifax is a significant trade and inward investment opportunity.
‘The contract to build 15 ships is worth £20bn with many companies in Portsmouth either already involved or seeking to obtain supply chain contracts. In addition there is great potential for a future trade, investment and educational mission to include not just Halifax but also Toronto.’