This time of year is traditionally a moment for reflection on the events of the past as well as a chance to look forward beyond the festivities of the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
I hope that you, the people of the Falkland Islands, will continue to enjoy the progress, security and prosperity from which all Islanders are benefiting.
The Islands continue to thrive. That so many of your young people return every year after finishing their education elsewhere is a striking demonstration of the confidence they have in their future and the enthusiasm and commitment they have for their community.
I know that Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell, during his visit last month, was impressed to see at first hand a vibrant Falklands community with diverse economic interests from fisheries to construction.
Your continuing efforts to diversify to build up new economic interests can be seen everywhere: for example in your abattoir, which is now certified by the European Commission - opening the way for exports to European Union member states.
Sir Ranulph Fiennes, when he ran his marathon around the islands on 27 October, as part of his 7-marathon challenge, was only one of the thousands of visitors who enjoyed the delights of a trip to the Falkland Islands this year.
The Islands have much to offer tourists. In particular it is a real credit to you that the Falklands environment remains so free of pollution and so full of rare wildlife such as the rock-hopper - one of the five species of penguin that breed on the Islands.
As you know the British Government will support you in your wish to continue to determine your own future. We remain committed to the guarantees we continue to uphold of security, sovereignty and self-determination.
We continue to encourage the Argentine Government to engage in practical co-operation on issues of mutual interest. This can only benefit Falkland Islanders and your future prosperity and security.
I welcome the commitment of the Falkland Islands Councillors to the construction of the memorial for the Argentine war dead at Darwin. I hope that this humanitarian gesture will provide a focus for reconciliation both now and in the future.
During this year, some of you have travelled many thousands of miles around the world on behalf of your Islands. Representatives of the Falklands have taken part in events ranging from meetings of the United Nations Committee of 24 in New York to the Royal Agricultural Show here in the UK.
I am pleased that the Falkland Islands increasingly have the opportunity to participate in such events. Travel and tourism fairs, agricultural shows and sporting events give you the chance to promote the Islands to the international community.
My own thoughts and best wishes are with you and your families at this special time of year. Let me end by wishing you a Merry Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.