WEDNESDAY, 11 JULY 2018

The Social & Community Development Committee (SCDC) held their monthly meeting on Wednesday, 11 July 2018, with Stephanie Jones attending her first meeting as Director of Safeguarding.

The first item saw the CEO of the Equality & Human Rights Commission highlighting some of the Commission’s key issues outlined in their annual report. Concerns included Government Landlord Housing, equality of arms, decision makers having to rely on redacted documents, the fear of reprisals from speaking up, and the need for legislation to protect the private sector from discrimination. The Committee noted these concerns and agreed to take them forward on the basis of evidence. It was also noted that the Prison Inquiry had been completed.

Members, together with the Director and President of the St Helena National Trust/Council, agreed proposals for a public consultation exercise on the St Helena National Trust (Amendment) Bill. The draft Bill is currently with the Attorney General’s Chambers for a final legal check before it is submitted to Executive Council to agree for public consultation. Present plans are for one public meeting to be held in Jamestown plus coverage in the media via radio and newspaper. Written submissions may also be sent to the Committee’s Secretary. The purpose of the amended Bill is to further regulate the powers and procedures of the Trust and the composition and procedures of the Trust Council.

The Committee gave approval to the proposed timetable relating to the processing of an Information Bill which covers Freedom of Information (FOI) and Data Protection. This had recently been discussed and supported by all Elected Members. The proposed Bill is intended to provide access to information held by public bodies and to provide protection for the processing of personal information. Members noted that starting shortly and throughout August, it is planned to have initial consultations with key stakeholders including the media, SHG Employee Representative Committee, large employers, Chamber of Commerce, and others. Public consultations are planned to be held in November and hopefully the Bill should be ready for debate in Legislative Council after 1 February 2019. The timetable can be found here: http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/publications/

A draft Threshold Policy was presented to the Committee by the Head of Adult Services, Victoria Kellett. This proposed policy is intended to identify and clarify levels of need within the remit of Adult Services. A review of the Home Care Support Policy will also be undertaken to refocus on needs.

An update was given by the Deputy Chairman, Councillor Cyril Leo, on progress made by the Social Security Review Working Group. Options and principles, according to the work carried out to date, will be brought to the next monthly Committee meeting.

Councillor Derek Thomas, Committee representative on the Immigration Working Group, reported that the review of the Immigration Ordinance was nearing completion and that the St Helenian status issue will be discussed with all Councillors before submitting the full review of the Immigration Ordinance to the Committee.

A special Committee meeting will be held to discuss the Minimum Income Standard (MIS). Previously, Executive Council agreed for a MIS uplift to be done every six months instead of on a yearly basis so that it can respond to help those on lower incomes.

The Committee also noted that Councillor Derek Thomas has been appointed as the new Children’s Champion.

In an update on Safeguarding by the new Director, the following was reported:

  • The formal report by Gavin (Jack) Thomas, Quality Assurance Consultant, is being finalised
  • Work is continuing to establish links with the National Autistic Society (NAS) to support St Helena in developing a specialist service subject to obtaining the necessary additional funding
  • The Home Care Service remains in a fragile situation but if funding can be secured then the Directorate will be able to ensure the correct employment rights for this group of staff
  • The Fostering Service is also dependent on funding whilst also noting that the Fostering Regulations, policies, and practice, are already in place
  • The works at the Community Care Centre (CCC) are nearly completed and plans are in place to move residents back to the CCC by 13 July

The recent visit by FCO Senior Child Protection Advisor, Michael Cotterall, and CEO Children & Family Court Advisory Support Services (CAFCASS), Anthony Douglas, was very successful. They visited to undertake an audit of child protection and vulnerable adult services on the Island. Initial feedback received was that Children Services are working very well and they supported the proposed strengthening of Adult Services. Their final report will include a number of recommendations to ensure services to children, families and vulnerable adults are improved and sustained.

The SCDC comprises of voting members Councillors Anthony Green (Chairman), Cyril Leo (Deputy Chairman), Kylie Hercules, Derek Thomas and Gavin Ellick. Non-voting members are the Director of Safeguarding and the Government Economist. The Committee Secretary is Nicole Plato.

#StHelena #SCDC #Meeting

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SHG
18 July 2018

INFORMATION TO HELP CONSUMERS UNDERSTAND THE SUGAR CONTENT OF FRUIT JUICES

The 100% or ‘Pure’ fruit juice drinks made from concentrated juice or pulp of fruit have been popular for many years and were something many of us grew up understanding to be a ‘natural’ and healthy thing for the whole family, and especially a good way to give children vitamins. The kind of brands we see in our shops on St Helena include the Rhodes, Ceres and Liqui Fruit juices, sold in 1 litre large cartons, and smaller snack cartons and cans.

In more recent years, the rapid rise in obesity, among both adults and children, and the soaring rates of type-two diabetes across the world caused nutritional scientists to identify the high rates of fruit sugars (Fructose) in fruit juices as a problem. While these are different types of sugar to the refined sugars added for example to carbonated or ‘fizzy’ soft drinks, they act in a similar way to raise blood sugar very sharply and also contain calories, and can also contribute to weight gain and risk of diabetes, which are big health issues on our Island. Because the fruit sugars in fruit juices are also highly concentrated it means the amount of sugar in a glass is substantial.

For comparison, while an average 330ml can of carbonated soft drink contains between nine to ten teaspoons of sugar and 140 calories, depending on brand, an equivalent amount of 100% or ‘Pure’ fruit juice also contains nine to ten teaspoons in Fructose or fruit sugars and 150 calories.

Health Promotion & Social Marketing Lead, Dr Angie Jackson-Morris, commented:

“It is confusing for consumers when they see these fruit juice brands that are marketed as ‘Natural’ or ‘Pure’ and sometimes state ‘No added sugar’ on the carton. We also have a legacy of being advised that fruit is good for you. Fruit is very good for you but the problem with these 100% fruit drinks is that they contain large and concentrated amounts of fruit sugars and put a lot of sugar in your system and add a lot of calories in just one drink. As part of the Merchants Partnership, we are giving consumers accurate, clear information and advice to help them understand what is good and not so good. The initiative also is about practically increasing supplies of the genuinely sugar-free drink alternatives so that people can understand what is better but also find it in their shops to buy.”

Tap water, bottled water, and low-fat milk are healthy alternatives, and if you like more flavour see the ranges of ‘sugar-free’ flavoured waters, cans of soft drinks, diluting squash, and lunch box drinks that are being made more available in the St Helena shops under the Merchants Partnership. If you don’t see the drink type you want the sugar-free version of, ask your merchant if they can explore extending their stock to include these. A piece of fruit to eat is a great alternative way to provide the vitamins found in fruit juices, and the amount of sugar and calories consumed is a lot less than if we drink undiluted fruit juice. Plus they have healthy fibre.

In response to the common question -‘Should we never drink 100% Fruit Juices?’ -Dietician, Gina Giebner, advised:

“Diluting 100% fruit juice with water helps to lower the sugar content. Dilute one part juice and nine parts water. You can still enjoy an occasional glass diluted in this way. Remember, that you can do this with bigger cartons at home but it’s not possible to do this with the small cartons or cans. For the majority of your drinks, sugar-free ones are a healthier choice, especially if you need to lose or watch your weight, and for children and teenagers. For children under three, water and milk is all they need.”

People can identify the sugar-free drinks in the shops marked with the ‘Saints Together’ heart symbol to save people having to check labels and try to understand whether the product is a good one. Solomons’ The Star, Half Tree Hollow Supermarket and Silver Hill Shop have begun, and Rose & Crown and Longwood Supermarket, The Victoria, and Thorpe’s Grocery Store will be extending their stock and signposting people to the healthier choices from 1 August onwards.

#StHelena #HealthPromotion #SaintsTogether #FruitJuice

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 SHG

17 July 2018

The Marine Section of the Environmental Management Division has received its first reports of Humpback whale sightings in St Helena waters for this year.

Humpback whales are annual visitors to St Helena, usually from June to December. St Helena waters are used by Humpback whales as a sheltered location to give birth and allow their calves to grow. Whales and calves can be viewed from land or from a boat. If you are lucky you might catch a glimpse of a mother and calf passing James Bay close inshore.

Humpbacks are very sensitive to noise. Noise from boats travel fast through water and can be heard over long distances. If you are intending to view whales from a boat, please do so with caution and respect, observing the following guidelines to prevent disturbances:

  • Remain a minimum of 100m distance away from the whale(s) and do not approach the whale(s) from the front or rear
  • If a vessel comes closer than 100m to the whale, it must place its motor in neutral or move at a speed less than 5 knots away from the whale until the vessel is outside the zone
  • Do not cause a whale to alter its direction or speed of travel
  • Do not disperse a group of whales
  • Snorkelling with whales is prohibited
  • Please remember when a whale is with a calf, a vessel must approach so that the mother is always between the calf and the vessel

Humpbacks can grow up to 17m in length and live for up to 50 years. One of the most energetic of the large whales, they are known for their spectacular breaching displays and long complex songs. At close range its knobbly heads and long flippers are unmistakable. Each individual can be identified by the unique pattern on the underside of its tail, much like our fingerprints.

Enjoy viewing these magnificent creatures, and please remember to report your sightings to the Environmental Management Divison (EMD) Marine Section on tel: 22270 or via email: marine@enrd.gov.sh

For each sighting please note the:

  • Date/time
  • Location
  • Numbers
  • Specific behaviour

This information is continually being used to further scientific knowledge of our marine life and allows better conservation measures to be put in place so we can continue to enjoy their visits into the future.

#StHelena #EMD #HumpbackWhales

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SHG

17 July 2018

Executive Council met today with just one substantive item on the Open Agenda which was a request to endorse the recently developed Fisheries Investment Prospectus. Members noted that whilst the financial position of the St Helena Fisheries Corporation was still precarious, good progress has been made by the Fisheries Working Groups. Members were especially pleased to note that premium fish is being landed and brought into the factory and have been exported after being processed.

Members commended the Fisheries Working Groups for the excellent progress made and recognised the importance of the local fishery as a natural resource. Executive Council endorsed the Investment Prospectus with the proviso that a robust marketing plan is implemented to ensure that the opportunity is advertised as widely as possible both offshore and locally. It was also stressed that any investor must be required to sell fish to the local market.

Under any other business, Members were informed that the Social Impact Assessment of the MOU is being finalised, having suffered a brief set back whilst the Social Impact Assessment of the Connect Saint Helena Ltd tariff proposal took priority.

Under the closed agenda, Members considered options for the future of the Mantis St Helena Hotel whose operations were being adversely affected by the low visitor numbers to the Island. Four options were presented which included:

  • Closing the Hotel
  • Mothballing the Hotel during the current low season
  • Approving additional finance with a corresponding share issue to compensate SHG
  • Allowing Enterprise St Helena to take a further equity stake in St Helena Hotel Development (SHHD) Ltd

Members discussed the options in the context of the recently launched ESH Business Support Initiative where a quarter of a million pounds will be made available to help small and medium sized accommodation businesses who have invested in the tourism sector.

It was noted that closing or mothballing the Hotel would incur additional expenditure in excess of the amount needed to keep the Hotel operational for the period under consideration.

It was also noted that this was the first time that SHG has been asked to finance the company since its launch in 2016.

In considering the options, Members noted that the Mantis St Helena was pivotal to the Island’s tourism industry as a whole. It was also noted that the Hotel would not qualify under the ESH Business Support Initiative and that as an SHG asset, Government would be protecting its investment in keeping it operational.

After much discussion, Members agreed to issue a Special Warrant to authorise £350,000 for a further equity investment into SHHD Ltd using additional revenue received from the process of winding up St Helena Line Ltd to offset the expenditure. This would be subject to the following conditions:

  • SHHD Ltd would accelerate work to bring to Executive Council before the end of this Financial Year a fully developed proposal regarding options for a public share offering by the company
  • That the Hotel Management Agreement is evaluated and the findings shared with Executive Council before the end of this Financial Year
  • That ESH Tourism is asked to bring a policy paper to Executive Council which sets out plans for increased marketing of the Island as a tourism destination, during 2018 and 2019, including the results of attendance at the recent tourism trade shows

The meeting closed at 12.40pm.

ExCo

17 July 2018

PUBLIC CONSULTATION

The draft St Helena Building Regulations 2018 will be out for public consultation between Tuesday, 24 July, and Tuesday, 21 August 2018. The document is significantly important to all contractors, architects/draftsmen, stakeholders and importers on St Helena.

Throughout the 28-day consultation period, the Building Inspectors of the Environment & Natural Resources Directorate will be available for one-to- one meetings and/or small group sittings with members of the public via drop-in sessions on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, from 9.30am to 12.30pm to discuss the document.

Drop-in sessions will take place at the Building Inspectors’ Office at Essex House. Those who are unable to visit the office can make an appointment and be visited by the Building Inspectors outside of these hours.

Copies of the draft St Helena Building Regulations 2018 will be made available at the Public Library, Customer Services Centre, Essex House, Prince Andrew School and both hard and electronic copies are available upon request. The document is also available on the SHG website, under the Public Consultations section of the Publications page: http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/publications

Anyone wishing to make any comments on the document may do so in writing to the Building Inspectors, Environment & Natural Resources Directorate, Essex House, Jamestown, or via email: nico-ellick@enrd.gov.sh or cliff-richards@enrd.gov.sh before Tuesday, 21 August 2018.

#StHelena #ENRD #BuildingRegulations #Draft #PublicConsultation

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SHG
17 July 2018

A quarter of a million pounds will be made available to help small and medium sized accommodation businesses on St Helena who have invested in the tourism sector. The funding recently approved by DFID, is aimed at supporting tourism accommodation businesses struggling to remain operational during this low season.

To this end, St Helena Government (SHG) working with Enterprise St Helena (ESH) has relaunched the Business Support Initiative which was first launched in September 2016.

The Business Support Initiative which was originally established to provide interim support to local businesses who had made investments in the expectation of incoming tourists to St Helena, has recently been revised to now support all qualifying accommodation businesses over the current off-peak period. This outcome is a result of a meeting between the Economic Development Committee and tourism accommodation businesses which was held earlier this year.

ESH will support small to medium sized businesses who are struggling to remain operational, and who qualify under this scheme.  Larger businesses, which are not eligible for this scheme, can apply to SHG for consideration.

Further details on the Business Support Initiative and the help available for local businesses can be provided by ESH.

#StHelena #BusinessSupportInitiative #EnterpriseStHelena

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SHG
16 July 2018

His Lordship Chief Justice Charles Ekins Esq was due to arrive on-Island on Saturday, 14 July 2018, to conduct the business of the St Helena Supreme Court. However, due to the delayed flight from Johannesburg to St Helena, the sitting of the St Helena Supreme Court has been postponed to a date to be confirmed later in the year.

Judicial Services therefore would like to confirm that those persons summoned to attend the Supreme Court for Jury Duty at this sitting are no longer required to attend. However, it is important to note that they may be called upon when the Supreme Court is next in session.

#StHelena #SupremeCourt

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SHG

16 July 2018

TUESDAY, 17 JULY 2018

A special meeting of Executive Council will take place in the Council Chamber at 11am tomorrow, Tuesday 17 July 2018.

The following item will be discussed on the Open Agenda:

  • St Helena Fisheries Corporation (SHFC) Investor Prospectus and update from Fisheries Working Groups

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

Members of the public who would like to view hard copies of the ExCo Memo should contact the Clerk of Councils, Lydia Buchanan, at the Castle on tel: 22470 or via email: lydia.h.buchanan@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.

#StHelena #SpecialExCoMeeting

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SHG
16 July 2018

The Forestry Section of the Agriculture & Natural Resources Division (ANRD) would like to advise the public that they will be carrying out tree surgery works near the General Hospital, Upper Jamestown, on Wednesday, 18 July 2018, from 9am to 2pm.

Drivers and pedestrians are asked to approach this area with caution and to comply with safety signage.

The Forestry Section would like to thank the public in advance for their cooperation.

#StHelena # ForestrySection #ANRD # TreeSurgery #GeneralHospital

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SHG

16 July 2018

The public is advised that the Airlink flight to St Helena and Ascension scheduled to have taken place over the weekend has for operational reasons been postponed until next week.  Due to a combination of poor weather conditions that are forecast to prevail for much of the rest of the week, and flight crew duty limitation in the circumstances of the weather uncertainty, the difficult decision has had to be taken to postpone the flight.

The Johannesburg – St Helena – Johannesburg flight will operate as normal on Saturday, 21 July 2018.  There are still some seats available on the inbound flight and there will be opportunity for some passengers originally booked to travel to St Helena on 14 July to travel on 21 July, if they so wish.  There are still seats available on the outbound flight providing opportunity for passengers originally booked to travel to Johannesburg on 15 July to transfer to this flight, if they so wish.  Ticket transfers will be carried out in a priority order based on the original booking.

Airlink will provide a replacement flight to St Helena and Ascension which operate to St Helena and then on to Ascension Island on Monday, 23 July 2018, returning to St Helena and then Johannesburg on Tuesday, 24 July.

Affected persons on St Helena should contact Solomon’s Travel Agency at the Shipping & Travel Agents Office in the Malabar, Jamestown, in person or on tel: 22523.

 #StHelena #StHelenaAirport #Airlink #FlightPostponed

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SHG
16 July 2018