I am delighted to be with all of you here today to mark St Helena Day 2018, and to celebrate all that’s great about St Helena (including parades, I do love a good parade!). This year’s theme, the ‘Good Ole Days’, no doubt takes many of you back to a time when St Helena was very different, perhaps before cars, television, or internet. A St Helena that is unimaginable for the younger people amongst us. And that is why it is always good to reflect on what has changed, and how far we have come.

Indeed, in the last year alone, we have seen some significant change. We have bid a sad farewell to the RMS St Helena, for so many years the Island’s lifeline. We have, though, in exchange seen the start of commercial flights, with thousands of passengers coming through the Airport in the first year of the new air service. It now takes around five hours to get to South Africa, rather than five days. This is a huge change that the Island has experienced, even just in a year – but what about those changes we’d like to see in the future?

This St Helena Day, I’d encourage everyone to think of two good things that they’d like to see in the future, and to spend the next year working to help make sure those things happen. For my part, I’d like to see the air service expand in the coming years, bringing an increased number of visitors to help the Island’s economy develop and grow. I also look forward to the arrival of St Helena’s first Undersea Fibre-Optic Internet Cable, and all the opportunities that will bring, from better education to instant access to overseas doctors from the comfort of your home on St Helena. Perhaps St Helena Day 2021 will even be streamed live across the internet so that Saints overseas can join the festivities, even if they can’t be here in person. I will work hard to support St Helena Government to deliver an expanded air service and the Fibre-Optic Internet Cable. But my question for you is, what things do you want to see happen, and what will you do to make sure they do happen?

Whatever your hopes for the future, together, we can achieve them. Let’s make sure the good days on St Helena, indeed the best days, are still to come.

Thank you, and happy St Helena Day!

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 SHG

21 May 2018

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