OCTOBER 2018

His Lordship, Chief Justice Charles Ekins Esq, will arrive on St Helena on Saturday, 20 October 2018.

The formal opening of the St Helena Supreme Court will take place on Monday, 22 October 2018, at 10am. This Supreme Court Session will continue until Friday, 2 November, and the Chief Justice will depart St Helena on Saturday, 3 November 2018.

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SHG
10 October 2018

THURSDAY, 11 OCTOBER 2018

A special meeting of Executive Council will take place in the Council Chamber at 9.30am on, Thursday 11 October 2018.

The following item will be discussed on the Open Agenda:

  1. Public Finance (Amendment) Bill, 2018

This paper (ExCo Memo) is available online at the following link: http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/councils/executive-council/.

The planning application for a new build prison in the Goat Pen area in Bottom Woods, which was due to be presented this week, will be discussed in a future meeting of Executive Council, once an Environmental Impact Assessment has been completed. The public will be kept informed.

Members of the public who would like to view hard copies of the ExCo Memo should contact the Clerk of Councils, Anthea Moyce, at the Castle on tel: 22470 or via email: anthea.moyce@sainthelena.gov.sh.

Elected Members serving on Executive Council are Councillors Anthony Green, Lawson Henry, Christine Scipio-O’Dean, Derek Thomas and Russell Yon.

Non-voting members of Executive Council are Chief Secretary, Susan O’Bey, Financial Secretary, Dax Richards, and Attorney General, Sara O’Donnell.

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SHG
10 October 2018

The following is a public announcement from the Legislative Council:

Councillors would like to advise the public of the following changes which have been made to the Constituency Meetings for October 2018.

Each meeting will start at 7pm.

Venue

Date

Blue Hill Community Centre Monday, 15 October
Jamestown Community Centre Tuesday, 16 October
Kingshurst Community Centre Monday, 22 October
St Michael’s Church, Rupert’s Wednesday, 24 October
St Mary’s Church, The Briars Wednesday, 24 October

 

SHG
9 October 2018

http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh

 

 

WEDNESDAY, 3 OCTOBER 2018

The monthly meeting of the Public Health Committee was held on Wednesday, 3 October 2018.

A warm welcome was given to new staff within the directorate – Mental Health Team Lead, Sherilea, and Charge Nurse (Theatre), Sebastiano.

The Chair gave an update on plans for the next Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) meeting in December. He plans to visit patients undergoing treatment in Pretoria during his journey to the UK for the JMC meeting.

The Director of Health updated the committee on a timetable for briefing from the various sections of the Health Directorate. The Committee aims to hear from all sections of the Health Directorate in the coming months.

It was noted that feedback received from the new DfID Health Adviser at the end of her visit was positive and a reflection of the hard work by the team.

An update on the Pharmacy Section was heard by the Pharmacist before a briefing was given on clinical governance. The Committee recommended that the report on clinical governance be shared with other elected members as well as the public.

The Committee received an update on the budget planning process and agreed to meet for an extraordinary session on Thursday, 11 October 2018, to discuss the budget in detail.

The Chair closed the meeting after announcing that the Director of Health has indicated he does not plan to extend his contract beyond the current agreement, with a recruitment process planned to commence soon. The Committee thanked the Director for his contribution to the development of Health Service on the Island.

#StHelena #PublicHealthCommittee #MeetingSummary

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SHG
9 October 2018

As a round up to Education Awareness Week, each of the Island’s four schools held their own UNESCO Teacher Appreciation Day assemblies on Friday, 5 October 2018.

The schools chose different times to host throughout the day to ensure the Director of Education, Shirley Wahler, Chair of the Education Committee, Cllr Christine Scipio, and other members of the Education Directorate could attend each assembly,

In the three Primary Schools, students of various ages took turns to perform acts, songs, and dance routines, all in honour of their teachers. Messages were read by students for their favourite teachers and thanks were given with every performance, recognising the hard work and dedication of all teaching staff.

Teachers were treated with gifts and compliments by their school’s PTA, students and colleagues. A cake, coloured to represent each Primary School – green for Harford, red for Pilling, and yellow for St Pauls – was also presented at each school.

At the end of each assembly, small speeches recognising the importance of teachers and appreciating what they do were given by Shirley Wahler and Christine Scipio. This was followed by the awarding of Long Service Certificates to those teachers who had dedicated over ten years of continuous service to education on St Helena.

The final assembly of the day came from Prince Andrew School (PAS). For this assembly, all staff of the school was asked to sit at the front of the main school hall. The assembly began with a presentation from the school’s senior students, giving thanks to the teachers and acknowledging their importance to both the academic and personal growth of the Island’s children. The final part of the presentation included headshots of all the PAS staff from each department, much to the amusement of the students who greeted each photo with laughter, clapping, and cheers. A video then played with individual and groups of students recording messages to their teachers, including a French class saying thanks in French.

As with the Primary Schools, PAS received a cake coloured in blue to represent the school colour and Long Service Certificates were then presented to awardees in PAS, including to Valerie Yon for 44 years of service to education on St Helena – the longest service recognised on the day. This was followed again by short speeches from Shirley Wahler and Christine Scipio.

Christine said:

“Today is St Helena’s fourth annual Teacher Appreciation Day. This gives us an opportunity to reflect on how much we owe to teachers and to those who work in our schools now and in the past. They are kind, patient, hard-working, dedicated, and play a critical role in educating and shaping the youth of St Helena, who are our future leaders.

“Teachers, thank you for everything that you do and for the contributions that you make to the entire community. Happy Teacher Appreciation Day!”

Staff of all schools were given a USB stick with a photo of St Helena and a quote from former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, which read: ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’.

#StHelena #Education #EducationAwarenessWeek #TeacherAppreciationDay

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SHG
8 October 2018

This bulletin includes estimates of the latest annual price inflation rates for the third quarter of 2018, calculated from the Retail Price Index (RPI). The data released in this Bulletin, including the RPI itself, can be downloaded from the St Helena Statistics website at: www.sainthelena.gov.sh/statistics-data. Detailed data can be accessed in Excel format here. The pdf version of the full Bulletin can be found here.

Average inflation rate

The latest rate of annual price inflation is estimated to be 4.1%, between the third quarter of 2018 and the third quarter of 2017. This is a 0.7 percentage point increase from the previous quarter, when the annual price inflation rate was measured at 3.4% (Chart 1).

Contributing factors

The two price changes with the most impact this quarter were the increases in the price of water from Connect, and the increase in the local telephone service provided by Sure. There were some other notable price increases, such as flour and soft drinks, but the price of some imported fruit, for example apples and oranges, fell – this is consistent with a reduction in the import duty from 20% to 5% for all fruit and vegetables without added salt or sugar.

There are more than 200 items in the RPI ‘basket’, but some 70% were unchanged in price from the previous quarter. While increases in freight rates for the MV Helena will tend to increase the price of imported goods, the depreciation of the Rand compared to the St Helena Pound over the year (of just over 5%) has the opposite effect, by decreasing their price. The ability of the MV Helena to transport more weight per container may also have helped mitigate the price increases in freight. The prices of goods imported from South Africa and the United Kingdom are also affected by inflation in those economies; in August, annual inflation was 4.9% in South Africa and 2.7% in the UK.

Inflation rates of RPI categories

Average prices for all the categories of the RPI increased compared to the year before (Chart 2) – in other words, inflation rates were all positive. Categories with the highest rates were ‘Communications’, with an annual inflation rate of 10.8% compared to 0.9% last quarter, and ‘Housing’, with a rate of 6.9% compared to 4.5% last quarter. These rates reflect the impact of the increases to the telephone and water tariffs, introduced by Sure and Connect respectively.

‘Household energy’ remains the expenditure category with the lowest annual inflation rate, at 1.4%. This is mainly due to the price for domestic electricity, which accounts for over 85% of the category but whose price has not changed since 2016. The annual inflation rate of food was 2.8%, which means that the average price of food has increased compared to a year ago, but at a slightly lower annual rate than last quarter. This is the result of a combination of factors, including the reduction in import duty from 20% to 5% for all fruit and vegetables without added salt or sugar and the slight fall in the value of the Rand compared to a year ago (which makes imported goods cheaper), offsetting some of the increase in prices caused by changes to freight rates and price inflation in South Africa and the UK.

What is price inflation?

Price inflation is the change in the average prices of goods and services over time. The rate of price inflation is calculated from the change in the Retail Price Index (RPI), which is the official measure of the average change in the prices of goods and services paid by consumers. The RPI is estimated each quarter, or once every three months, and the rate of price inflation is usually quoted on an annual basis; that is, comparing price changes over a twelve month period. Prices and the RPI tend to go up, but they can occasionally go down – which is price deflation.

Why do we measure inflation?

An accurate measure of price inflation helps understand the extent and nature of the impact of price changes on the government, businesses, households and individuals.

How is the RPI calculated?

The basis for the RPI is the average weekly cost of goods and services purchased by households on St Helena, sometimes called the ‘shopping basket’. Items which households purchase more of, such as food, have the biggest share of the RPI basket. The current RPI uses a basket from the latest Household Expenditure Survey in 2017; prices of the items in the basket are collected every quarter, and the price of the total basket is compared to the price in the baseline period, the first quarter of 2018. By convention, the value of the basket in the baseline period is scaled to 100, and the RPI values are quoted in relation to that baseline. For example, an RPI value of 120 means that average prices have increased by 20 per cent compared to those recorded in the baseline period.

What happens when items are not available?

If an item of the ‘basket’ is not available then either the previous price will be carried forward from the previous quarter, or a suitable substitute item will be identified and an adjustment calculation made. Care is taken to ensure that this substitute item represents the item category and that it does not introduce error to the measurement of the RPI. An important principle is that price changes should reflect actual price increases, and not changes in the quality of items.

The Statistics Office is conducting a Business Survey from October to mid-November 2018. The last survey of this type was conducted in 2010.

Chairman of the Economic Development Committee, Lawson Henry, said:

“This is an important survey to better understand St Helena’s economy, the current business environment, and St Helena’s labour market. It is a long time since businesses were surveyed in this way, and St Helena has been through a period of tremendous change since then. It’s especially important now that scheduled air services are operating, and a new freight service has been introduced. The analysis from the statistics, arising from the data collected from this survey, will play an important part in decision-making; therefore I would encourage businesses to take part.”

The survey fieldwork will start on Monday, 8 October, when questionnaires will be delivered. The survey is expected to take around six weeks, and it will be conducted within the legal framework of the 2000 Statistics Ordinance. All businesses with employees (i.e. apart from self-proprietors) are required to complete and return the questionnaire. Statistics Officers will collect completed questionnaires, and will give businesses any help they need.

The survey includes around twenty questions in areas related to the business environment, employment & staff recruitment, leave & benefits, and staff training. A further section on income and expenses will only be required of larger businesses (those who employ ten people or more). The information provided on the questionnaires will be treated with strict confidence, and will be used only for the purpose of compiling statistics, in accordance with the Statistics Ordinance.

Statistical Commissioner, Neil Fantom, said:

“Our job in the Statistics Office is to help people make better decisions; good data does not guarantee good decision-making, but it does make it much more likely. I’d like to thank all businesses for their cooperation and help with the survey – we’ve tried hard to make sure the survey is straightforward and simple for businesses to complete, but the enumeration team will be available to help if needed. Please contact us on tel: 22318 or by email: statistics@sainthelena.gov.sh, or visit our office in the Castle, if you have any questions or comments, or need help with the survey. We’ll be more than happy to try and help to make the process as painless as possible.”

#StHelena #Statistics #2018BusinessSurvey

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SHG
5 October 2018

St Helena Government (SHG) is pleased to inform that confirmation has been received from the Airport Regulator, Air Safety Support International (ASSI), that the Aerodrome Certificate and approvals for St Helena Airport have been issued to St Helena Airport Ltd (SHAL).

SHG is also pleased to advise that all staff previously engaged at the St Helena Airport have taken up positions with SHAL.  The team is highly qualified and experienced and their support to the ongoing operation of the St Helena Airport is very much appreciated.  Of particular note is the appointment of Ms Gwyneth Howell as Chief Executive Officer and Accountable Manager of SHAL.  Our congratulations to Gwyneth on her appointment.

Finally, SHG has been advised by our insurance providers that all necessary insurances are in place.  SHG is therefore pleased to announce that St Helena Airport has recommenced operations as normal with effect from today, 5 October 2018.

SHG

5 October 2018

The Education & Employment Directorate recently announced school results for 2018. In primary, school results rose significantly from the previous year after the change in reporting standards in 2017. At Prince Andrew School the GCSE results were somewhat lower than in 2017, but well above results in 2015 and 2016.

The Education Committee recently received a detailed report and analysis of the results from primary schools and the progress achieved. Overall, primary results were very encouraging, with significant improvements in performance in both English and Mathematics reflected in the report.

Prior to 2017, Year 6 primary results were reported as the percentage of students reaching Level 4 or above. Following changes to the UK National Curriculum however, new assessments and measures have been introduced in St Helena schools. The changes to the National Curriculum have meant that students must now meet much more challenging learning objectives. The National Curriculum Levels which were used to report student attainment are no longer used.

From 2017, schools have been required to report the percentage of students reaching the new standard, ‘At Age Related Expectations’. There is also a new standard for high achievement, ‘Above Age Related Expectations’. Student performance is assessed using computer-based testing. These assessments provide parents and teachers with detailed feedback about children’s strengths and areas for development. Students in Years 2-6 take these assessments at the end of the year, but only Year 6 results are considered summative assessments and reported publicly. Other results are used to guide students’ learning as they progress through the school.

The target for primary schools was set at 60% achieving ’At Age Related Expectations’ in both English and Mathematics. For 2018, 56.1% of Year 6 students achieved ‘At Age-Related Expectations’ in English (compared to 50% in 2017) and 41.5% achieved ‘At Age-Related Expectations’ in Mathematics (compared to 30% in 2017). The report also noted Year 6 students who performed at the higher standard designated ‘Above Age-Related Expectations,’ with 14.6% of Year 6 students achieving at this level in English and 6.4% in Mathematics. The Education Committee praised the hard work and commitment of school staff in achieving these results and noted the significant improvements over the past year.

Results from Prince Andrew School were also shared with the Education Committee.  The headline results for GCSE’s was 37.1%, reflecting the proportion of students who earned higher grade passes in five subjects, including English and Mathematics. This result was below the 2017 results of 45%, and also slightly below the school’s target of 40%, but was well above results in 2015 and 2016. Prince Andrew School was particularly proud of the Science results, which were the best ever seen in the school. In Coordinated Sciences, 85% of students received higher grades, while in the Single Science entries, the success rate was 65%.

This is the second year of exams since GCSE reforms began in the UK last year.  Changes to various qualifications are still taking place, and new qualifications are being added by exam boards. While some subjects are still graded in the traditional way, with letter grades from A* to G, the new grading system uses numbers with higher numbers meaning higher grades. Under the new system, number grades from 4-9 are considered ‘good passes’ just as letter grades from C-A* have been.

This means that reporting grades are not quite as straightforward as in past years.  This year, for example, the top performing female GCSE student earned a double A* grade, three A grades, one C grade, one 6 grade and one 4 grade. The top performing male students earned one A grade, five B grades, and two 5 grades.

Prince Andrew School also reported A-Level results from its Sixth Form students.  There were six students in Year 13 in 2017/18, five of whom were studying full academic programmes. Collectively, these students sat 17 examinations, with an overall pass rate of 82%. The top performing Year 13 student received B’s in Psychology and English Literature and a C in English Language.

The Director of Education, Shirley Wahler, congratulated students, teachers, and parents, on the work achieved in 2017/18. She said:

“Overall, we see very positive trends in attainment across both the primary and secondary sectors. I am particularly pleased with improvements in both English and Mathematics at the primary level. This lays the foundation on which Prince Andrew School will build future success. The Prince Andrew School science results are also very encouraging and reflect the tremendous potential of St Helena students. There is still work to do to improve our results, but we see progress right through the system, and schools are working hard to help every student achieve their full potential. 

“As we celebrate Education Appreciation Week, I want to thank all our education staff for their commitment to the care and education of the children of St Helena and for the hard work that they invest in improving the quality of teaching and learning in our schools.”

#StHelena #Education #ExamResults #Primary #PrinceAndrewSchool #Success

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SHG
5 October 2018

SAEX have announced that the survey is to begin for the SAEx1 project to deliver a South Atlantic Express cable running 7,600km from Cape Town to Fortaleza in Brazil with a branch to St Helena. The contract for the desk top study, permitting and survey activities has been signed between SAEx International Ltd and Alcatel Submarine Networks, a subsidiary of Nokia.

The fibre optic cable project will deliver superfast broadband to St Helena through a submarine cable. This will provide significant benefits to us, particularly as we currently rely on a satellite for internet access.

The next steps in the project are for a desk top survey to be completed, permitting to be achieved and the marine route survey to be undertaken. The progress of the project can be tracked at www.saex.net

Managing Director of SAEx, Rosalind Thomas, said:

“SAEx will support efficiency in Asian and African connectivity by adding a direct low-latency route that’s able to address the growing capacity requirements for Data Centre Interconnect globally. Additionally, it will further evolve South Africa’s positioning as a global hub, providing a direct link between the Americas & Asia, simplifying & enhancing communications between the 5 most populous countries in the world.”

President & CEO of Alcatel Submarine Networks, Philippe Piron, said:

We are delighted to work with SAEx for this significant project, creating new and diverse routes around the globe at a time of tremendous growth in African broadband, mobile and cloud based applications that are driving service providers’ demand for more connectivity options with higher reliability. This project confirms Alcatel Submarine Networks’ turn-key expertise in helping operators address the fast growth of data-intensive services and applications.”

SHG Government Economist, Nicole Shamier, commented:

‘This is extremely exciting news for St Helena, as we move one step closer to achieving faster and more reliable broadband. Our priority now is to make sure that we are ‘Cable Ready’; ensuring that the community can make the most of the opportunities provided by the Fibre Optic Cable’.

We would like to hear from you about how the Fibre Optic Cable will benefit you and your work. Please help by undertaking our short online survey https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/VSVLQXP

The SAEX press release is available at https://www.saex.net/saex-and-alcatel-submarine-networks-begin-survey-for-saex-cable.html

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SHG

4 October 2018