Financial Secretary Colin Owen this afternoon delivered the Budget Speech for St Helena, 2014/15 (photo attached).  The theme of this year’s Budget was the Health of the Nation and Making a Difference.

The budget covered a wide range of health and environmental issues and saw the introduction of Excise and Liquor Duty and a number of changes to the current tax regime.

Highlights from the speech included:

 

  • Total expenditure for 2014/15 of just over £29 million
  • Increased funding for priority areas, including an additional £692k for the Health Service
  • £8.5m to be spent on Capital Infrastructure Projects in 2014/15
  • Planned introduction of Child Benefit allowance from 1 April 2015 
  • Continued equalisation of Fuel Tariffs, with duty on diesel to increase by 5p
  • Tobacco and Spirits Duties increased by 5%
  • Introduction of Liquor Duty at £3.50 per litre
  • New £1 per litre Duty for alcohol 3% or below
  • Changes to Customs Duty on Vehicles, based on CO2 Emissions
  • Introduction of Excise Duty on Styrofoam boxes for takeaways
  • Introduction of Excise Duty on plastic shopping bags
  • 75p per litre Excise Duty on High Sugar Carbonated Drinks

 

Colin Owen commented:

‘The introduction of a new tax on high sugar drinks and higher than inflation increases on tobacco form part of a raft of measures which demonstrate that SHG takes the health of St Helena seriously.’

The full Budget Speech is available on the SHG website at: http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/finace/

SHG

21 March 2014

Councillor Wilson ‘Tony’ Duncan has this morning been elected as Chairman of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee and a Member of Executive Council. Councillor Corinda Essex has been elected as Member of the Public Accounts Committee.

Elections took place during today’s Formal Legislative Council Meeting where Elected Members were able to put forward their nominations for each of these roles in the House.

The purpose of today’s Legislative Council Meeting is primarily to discuss this year’s Budget Settlement. Also during the meeting there will be six Questions along with seven Motions, six of which are Bills for Ordinances.

Legislative Council is broadcast live via SAMS Radio 1.

SHG

21 March 2014

la Fayette

On Tuesday 15 April 2014, St Helena will host a one-day call from two major French warships – the 21,300 tonne Force Projection & Command Ship ‘FS Mistral’ and the advanced Frigate ‘FS La Fayette’.

The ships’ estimated time of arrival at St Helena is 09.00 hrs, departing at 19.00 hrs on the same day.  The Mistral has a crew complement of around 220 and is 199m in length, and the La Fayette has a crew of around 180 and is 125m in length.  Two pictures are attached to this release.

A programme is being drawn up for the day by SHG and honorary French Consul Michel Dancoisne-Martineau, and is likely to include: a Captain(s) call on the Governor, an invited lunch on board, a schools’ visit on board, a ceremony at the Tomb (with many French military in attendance), and a tour of Longwood House and the Briars pavilion – followed by the ships’ departure.

French Consul, Michel Dancoisne-Martineau, said of the visit:

The call of the two main vessels of the ‘Groupe Jeanne d’Arc’ is quite an honour, not only for my team, but for all of us on St Helena.  It will bring back memories for some on the Island who will remember the regular calls of the ‘Jeanne d’Arc’ – the last visit of that importance occurring in 1987. Since then, two French Navy ships have called on the Island – the patrouilleur ‘Albatros’ at the Quincentenary of St Helena in 2002, followed by the ‘Beautemps-Beaupré’ in 2008.

Mistral ship“St Helena owns a great page of our common history and this ’escale’ (port of call) further honours our mutual respect.”

Governor Mark Capes added:

“Our special link with France is firmly embedded in history and I’m sure that the people of St Helena will join me in warmly welcoming this visit by the French Navy. As always, we will do everything possible to ensure that our guests have an enjoyable visit.”

SHG

20 March 2014

The First Sitting of the Fourth Meeting of Legislative Council will take place on Friday 21 March 2014 at 10am in the Court House, Jamestown. This session is expected to last two days, continuing on Monday 24 March, and will be broadcast live via SAMS Radio 1.

The main purpose of the meeting will be to discuss this year’s Budget settlement, where the Financial Secretary will present his Budget Speech to Legislative Council. Six Questions will also be taken to the House along with seven Motions, six of which are Bills for Ordinances.

Nine papers will be presented in the House. They are:

 

  • A Bill for an Ordinance – The Immigration (Amendment) Ordinance, 2014
  • A Bill for an Ordinance – The Second Supplementary Appropriation Ordinance, 2014
  • The Second Supplementary Estimates, March 2014
  • A Bill for an Ordinance – The Customs (Amendment) Ordinance, 2014
  • A Bill for an Ordinance – The Liquor Duty Ordinance, 2014
  • A Bill for an Ordinance – The Interpretation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2014
  • A Bill for an Ordinance – The Appropriation Ordinance, 2014
  • Estimates of Recurrent Revenue, Expenditure and Capital Expenditure 2014/15
  • The St Helena Public Accounts Committee – Report to Legislative Council on the Formal Session of the Public Accounts Committee held on 10 February 2014.

Three elections will also take place during the Meeting. These will be to elect a Chairman of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, to elect a new member of Executive Council following the resignation from ExCo of Councillor Cyril George, and to elect a member of the Public Accounts Committee.

The meeting will conclude with the customary Adjournment Debate, when Councillors will have the opportunity to raise various issues relating to St Helena.

The Order Paper for Friday’s meeting is available on the SHG website at:  http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/committee-reports/

SHG

17 March 2014

Marine Awareness Week is celebrated annually on St Helena to raise awareness of the importance of the Island’s marine environment, underwater habitats and species.

This year Marine Awareness Week is taking place between Saturday 22 – Saturday 29 March – with a number of events dedicated to teaching and learning about St Helena’s marine environment – including this year’s Grand Finale Fishing Festival.
Activities include a presentation at the Museum on ‘St Helena’s Ocean Habitat and Fishing’ on Monday 24 March. On Tuesday evening the St Helena Dive Club will show ‘The little Mermaid’ at the Wharf – with popcorn and juice on sale. Wednesday’s activities will be a marine-themed Quiz Night at the Yacht Club hosted by the St Helena Nature Conservation Group and on

Thursday the Dive Club will be holding a practical introduction to scuba session at the Pool. Saturday 29 March will see the Grand Finale Fishing Festival at the Wharf.

In addition, each day from 10.30am – 6.30pm there will be a display area at the Yacht Club where visitors will be able to speak with marine conservation staff, fishermen, marine tour operators and Traditional Industry Campaign staff from Enterprise St Helena.

Marine Conservation Officer Elizabeth Clingham explains the importance of Marine Awareness Week on St Helena:
“Marine Awareness Week highlights St Helena’s unique marine environment. This year, in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders, we are really emphasising the significance and importance of our ocean, understanding its uses and respecting its value now and for the future.”

SHG
17 March 2014

Councillor Cyril George today informed Members of Legislative Council that he is to stand down from Executive Council (ExCo) with immediate effect.  Councillor George explained that for personal reasons he felt that he was no longer able to meet the considerable demands of serving on ExCo.

Councillor George said:

“Recognising the importance of Executive Council, I realised that it would be wrong of me to continue to serve on ExCo if I could not meet all of the obligations involved. I have enjoyed my time on Executive Council, and I would like to thank my colleagues for their support and understanding.”

A successor to Councillor George will be elected to ExCo at the next formal meeting of Legislative Council on 21 March 2014.

Councillor George will continue to serve as an Elected Member of Legislative Council.

SHG

14 March 2014

Dr Essex takes the Oaths of Office
Dr Essex takes the Oaths of Office

Dr Corinda Essex this afternoon took the Oaths of Office for her new role as an Elected Member in the presence of His Excellency Governor Capes at the Castle.

Dr Essex now serves on Legislative Council following her win at yesterday’s Polls.

Dr Essex commented:

“I was quite overwhelmed by the result. In the discussions I had been having with people over the last couple of weeks I was aware that there was a tremendous amount of support amongst the public and so I was anticipating winning the election – but I certainly wasn’t anticipating nearly as many votes as I captured yesterday.

“I would like to say a very big thank you to all of those who voted for me and I look forward to working with them in moving issues forward on their behalf.”

Dr Essex previously served on Legislative Council from 1993 -1996.

SHG
13 March 2014

Dr Corinda Essex of Jamestown has been duly elected to serve as a Member of the St Helena Legislative Council.

Returning Officer Gillian Francis last night announced the results of Polling Day for the Bye-Election, held yesterday.

Dr Corinda Essex
Dr Corinda Essex

The total number of votes for each Candidate was:

Corinda Sebastiana Stuart Essex: 480
Brenda Elaine Moors: 60
Lionel George Williams: 39

The Count took place at the Castle from just after 8pm to just after 9.30pm last night.

In total 579 people cast valid votes. This represents approximately 25.6 % of those eligible to vote.

There were two invalid Ballot Papers.


SHG
13 March 2014