March 2014

The Quarterly Statistical News Bulletin, published in March 2014, covers the period October – December 2013 (Q4 2013) and contains updates for the annual rate of inflation of the Retail Price Index (RPI), Income and Imports, Estimated Population, Visitor Arrivals and information on Dwellings and Planning Applications. Also contained within the Bulletin is a Correction Notice issued as a result of a revision to the RPI from Quarter 1 to Quarter 3 2013. 

Annual inflation of the St Helena RPI stood at 0.8 per cent in Quarter 4 2013 – the lowest recorded rate in over ten years. There has been a 0.7 per cent decrease in the RPI (the overall cost of the ‘St Helena Shopping Basket’) from Quarter 3 to Quarter 4 2013.   

The Correction to the RPI shows that annual inflation of the RPI in 2013 was stronger than indicated by previously published estimates. But the revised figures continue to show a persistent decrease in the headline rate of inflation of the St Helena RPI.

The St Helena resident population continues to grow. December 2013 showed a peak in the St Helena population at just under 4,500, including those temporarily returning from overseas employment. In 2013, the estimated resident population at any time has included approximately 150 more people than the same period in 2012. In 2013, over 150 Saints returned to live on St Helena, having worked or lived overseas for two years or longer. Over 70% of these returning Saints were aged between 20 and 60 years. 

In 2013, the total number of arrivals to St Helena was up by close to 12% from 2012. Tourist arrivals on the RMS were up from 2012 by almost 20% and yacht visitors up by just over 15%.

Statistician, Dr Paula McLeod says:

“It is encouraging to see indications that the St Helena population and economy are steadily growing. The information published by the Statistics Office provides a small insight into St Helena and her people. It is important that we gather as much data as we can so that we can monitor changes on St Helena and provide sound evidence for policy makers and businesses to base decisions on.”

The Statistical News Bulletin, along with other statistical reports, is available on the SHG website at www.sainthelena.gov.sh/statistics

If you have requested a copy of the Quarterly Statistical News Bulletin via email and have not yet received it, please contact the Statistics Office on 22138 or email statistics@sainthelena.gov.sh

SHG

7 March 2014

St Helena is to have a new Chief Secretary. Roy Burke (photo attached) currently the Chief Executive in the States of Alderney, Channel Islands, will take up his position in early June 2014, succeeding the current Chief Secretary, Owen O’Sullivan.

Roy has a wealth of experience in the public sector, having held Chief Executive positions for the past twelve years.

Governor Capes said of Roy’s appointment:

“’I warmly congratulate Roy on his appointment, and look forward to working with him as we continue to prepare St Helena for air access and to make progress on the path to sustainable economic development. With his valuable skills and many years of experience, Roy is well placed to lead the public service at this critical and exciting time for St Helena.

“He will take over from Owen O’Sullivan, who will be leaving in May at the end of his contract and three very successful years as Chief Secretary.”  

Roy will be accompanied on the Island by his wife Jill.

Roy said:

“Jill and I are very much looking forward to moving to St Helena.  I know these are exciting times and I am expecting a busy but rewarding posting.”

 

SHG

7 March 2014

Basil Read will be blasting on the Haul Road in Upper Rupert’s Valley on Saturday 8March 2014 between the hours of 1-2pm. This blast will only commence if weather permits. 

The general public and all persons working in close proximity to the Rupert’s area are asked to please adhere to the warning signs and stay clear of the affected areas whilst the blasting operation is carried out. Security guards with red flags will be in position to assist and ensure that everyone adheres to the warnings. One long continuous siren will be sounded to indicate that the blast is taking place. The all clear is given when the siren stops.

Due to Basil Read safety measures which are imperative for this particular blast, the Solomon’s Bulk Fuel Installation and Connect Saint Helena’s Power Station are to be temporarily shut down to enable personnel to be evacuated. 

As a result of this shut down and evacuation process, Connect Saint Helena would like to advise the public that there will be an Island-wide power cut during the blasting procedure, set for 1-2pm.Power will be restored once the all clear is given by Basil Read for personnel to return safely to their stations. 

Basil Read and Connect Saint Helena Ltd appreciate your continued co-operation and apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

On behalf of Basil Read and Connect Saint Helena Ltd

7 March 2014

The public is reminded that a Bye-Election will take place on Wednesday 12 March 2014 when St Helena will go to the Polls to elect a new Member to fill the vacant seat on Legislative Council.

Candidates for the 2014 Bye-Election are: Dr Corinda Essex of Jamestown, Mrs Brenda Moors of Alarm Forest and Mr Lionel Williams of St Paul’s.

Polling stations will be at the Levelwood, Jamestown, Harford, Blue Hill, Sandy Bay and Kingshurst Community Centres, Half Tree Hollow Clinic and at Judges Lodge, Alarm Forest.

Only those named on the Register of Electors dated 7 February 2014 will be able to vote in the Bye-Election and you must vote in the Polling District in which you are registered. Half Tree Hollow residents should note that their Polling Station is now at the Half Tree Hollow Clinic (and not at the normal venue of the Half Tree Hollow Community Centre).

If on Polling Day you cannot make it to the Polling Station, you may vote by Proxy – providing you obtain advance permission from the Returning Officer Gillian Francis at the Castle.  To get permission you must complete the relevant form which must be handed to the Returning Officer by no later than 10am on Monday 10 March 2014 (any forms received after this time will not be valid).

If you are voting by Proxy on Polling Day, your Proxy must be on the current Register of Electors and in the same Polling District in which you are registered.

For Proxy forms or to inspect the current Register of Electors you may contact the Returning Officer, Assistant Returning Officers or Assistant Registration Officers. The names of these Officers were printed in newspapers dated 6 and 7 March 2014.

SHG

7 March 2014

International Women’s Day (8 March) is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. In some places like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, International Women’s Day is a national holiday.

 “A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water – Eleanor Roosevelt

This Saturday 8 March, ‘Ordinary Women are Extraordinary Too!’ will be launched on St Helena.   Members of the Island’s community – both male and female will be able to contribute words of wisdom by and for the women that have inspired them.

There will be a giant blackboard at the Canister between 10am to 1pm to write your inspiring messages.  Alternatively, hard copies of messages can be submitted to the Human Rights Facilitator, Catherine Turner, in Napoleon Street or by email to humanrightsoffice@helanta.co.sh

Catherine commented:  

“Women’s equality has made positive gains but the world is still unequal.  International Women’s Day celebrates the social, political and economic achievements of women, while focusing world attention on areas requiring further action.

“Here on St Helena we are looking forward to the extension of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) which will bring us into line with best international practice.

“Inspiring Change is the 2014 theme for our International Women’s Day Celebration – encouraging advocacy for women’s advancement everywhere and in every way. It calls for challenging the status quo for equality and vigilance in inspiring in positive change.”

A leaflet on women’s rights ‘Opening Doors with CEDAW’ will also be available on Saturday outside the Canister and copies will be made available from the Human Rights Officer thereafter.

SHG

5 March 2013

Legislative Councillors will be holding a second series of public meetings in April 2014. During the Constituency meetings there will be a minimum of three Members present at each meeting.

Agenda items planned to be discussed at the meetings include Economic Development, Same Sex Marriages and the Complaints Procedure. Members of the public are also encouraged to raise any issues not covered in the agenda at the meetings.

The schedule is outlined below. All meetings will run from 7.30pm to 9pm

Tuesday 1April. Jamestown Community Centre, attended by Cyril George, Nigel Dollery and Brian Isaac

Wednesday 2April. Briars (St. Mary’s Church), attended by Ian Rummery, Tony Duncan and Derek Thomas

Wednesday 9April. Sandy Bay Community Centre, attended by Christine Scipio-O’Dean, Gavin Ellick and Leslie Baldwin

Thursday 10April. HTH (Guide Hall), attended by Lawson Henry, Bernice Olsson and New Member

Wednesday 16April. Longwood (Harford Community Centre), attended by Cyril George, Bernice Olsson and Nigel Dollery

Thursday 17April. Levelwood (Silver Hill Bar), attended by Ian Rummery, Derek Thomas and New Member

Wednesday 23April. St Pauls (Kingshurst Community Centre), attended by Leslie Baldwin, Tony Duncan and Christine Scipio-O’Dean

Wednesday 23April. Blue Hill Community Centre, attended by Lawson Henry, Gavin Ellick and Brian Isaac

Wednesday 30April. Ruperts (St Michael’s Church), attended by Leslie Baldwin, Nigel Dollery and Brian Isaac

On behalf of Legislative Council

4 March 2014

Executive Council met today, Tuesday 4March 2014, with one item on the open agenda.

Council was asked to consider amending the Interpretations Ordinance definition of an Audit, to raise the threshold for bodies requiring an International Standard on Auditing (ISA) approved audit.

This arose out of a concern from the Public Accounts Committee that some Government-funded bodies could be charged for a full ISA approved audit because of their income level.  Any agency in receipt of Government funds is required to be audited, but as more agencies are reaching the holdings threshold for a more comprehensive ISA approved audit, they are facing additional financial costs.  The purpose of the amendment was to raise the holdings threshold to bring it more into line with UK standards for Charitable Organisations.

Executive Council agreed the recommendation to amend the Ordinance as this will be a positive benefit to those Government-funded bodies – while still providing appropriate and sufficient safeguards for monitoring Government expenditure. The amended Bill will now go forward as Government Business to Formal Legislative Council on 21 March 2014.

On the closed agenda, the Appropriation Bill 2014/15 was presented to Executive Council. The Appropriation Bill had been discussed extensively by Legislative Council and Executive Council agreed that the Bill also be presented as Government Business at the next Formal Legislative Council.

The next item was an amendment to the Customs Regulations.  This was in relation to the importation of substances known as ‘legal highs’ (referring to psychoactive substances).  The description of ‘legal highs’ is a misnomer, leading some people to believe that because these substances are not illegal then they are safe to use.  This is not so – they can pose very serious health risks – and there is a suggestion that these substances are being brought into St Helena.  The amended Regulations would prohibit the import of psychoactive substances that have not been prescribed by a doctor.  This is an important public safety issue as at present it is legal to import and sell these substances.  That represents an unacceptable risk to the people of St Helena and so Executive Council approved the amended Regulations.

The meeting closed with a tribute to former Councillor, William (Bill) Drabble.  Executive Council, on behalf of Legislative Council, wished to remember Bill’s service to St Helena.  Bill served for 20 years and represented St Helena at a number of international conferences and meetings.  As current members of Legislative Council noted, Bill’s death reminds us that we are building on the foundations of those who have gone before us.

The meeting ended at 11:30am.

ExCo

4 March 2014

The Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton arrived on St Helena on Wednesday 19 February 2014, its fortieth stop on its relay around the 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth.

A short film of the Queen’s Baton visit and programme on St Helena will be shown on Local TV Channel 1, including its journey to Primary Schools, Jacob’s Ladder, the Community Care Complex and Jonathan the Tortoise.

The piece will broadcast at the following times:

Wednesday 5 March – 18:55 hrs

Thursday 6 March – 18:55 hrs

Friday 7 March – 18:45 hrs

Saturday 8 March – 18:55 hrs

SHG

4 March 2013

Celebrated annually on the second Monday in March, Commonwealth Day is an opportunity for member nations of the Commonwealth to promote understanding on global issues, international cooperation and the work of Commonwealth organisations.

The theme for this year’s Commonwealth Day, falling on Monday 10 March 2014, is ‘Team Commonwealth’ which expresses the spirit of friendship and motivation towards the shared goals and values that exist between Commonwealth members.

This year, St Helena’s participation in Commonwealth Day will be led by Legislative Council Members.  A group comprising Members of the Social and Community Development and Education Committees has been working together in preparation for the day’s activities.

Planned activities will focus on the theme of ‘Team Work’ and will involve Legislative Council Members and some 26 schoolchildren from the Primary Schools and Prince Andrew School. The group will be taken around the Island on various site visits which demonstrate teamwork. The sites will include the Spruce Projects at Harford and St Paul’s Primary Schools, work at the Horse Point Landfill Site and Millennium Forest, Bradley’s Motor Cross track, the Airport site at Prosperous Bay Plain, and SHAPE Recycling Plant at Donkey Plain.

Other activities will include the traditional Commonwealth Day Assembly at Prince Andrew School where HE Governor Capes will read Her Majesty the Queen’s Message to the Commonwealth. It is also planned for two video conferences to take place between the St Helena Youth Parliament and Welsh Youth Parliament, and for Councillors to discuss issues with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Delegation who visited the Island in August 2013.

 Leader of the Commonwealth Day Working Group, Councillor Les Baldwin said:

“St Helena, as a member of the Commonwealth along with all other Commonwealth Nations, will inevitably share common goals and ambitions. It is important that we take part in Commonwealth Day celebrations, as this underlines our allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen and her endeavours to ensure high standards throughout the Commonwealth.”

SHG

3 March 2014

Trevor Graham
Trevor Graham

Arriving on Island on 19 February on a three year contract was Trevor Graham, Environment and Natural Resources’ (ENRD) new Director. 

Trevor’s main objective will be to ensure that ENRD actively contributes to the development of the economy on St Helena building on, and enriching, our natural and cultural heritage.

Trevor commented on his impressions of the Island and the Directorate:

 “I have been hugely impressed by what I have seen so far and at the range of skills and commitment within the Directorate-as well as some of the results achieved with limited resources and sometimes in adverse conditions. I spent a day with the roads team and am really impressed with their work in challenging conditions.

 “I have a short space of time to understand the challenges, build relationships and develop opportunities. I would like to think that St Helena can be well on the way to being a leading sustainable tourism destination and a global development benchmark for other Island nations.

“There are so many opportunities, so many creative people and such amazing natural and cultural assets that I’m certain that if we all work together and use our resources wisely, then we can achieve a great deal.”

Previously, Trevor has spent most of his career working with urban development, often in low income communities.  He spent 15 years working to transform the City of Malmo in Sweden, from a city in social and economic crisis to a global leader in sustainable development.  This work has enabled Trevor to work at a national and local level in places such as Europe, China and Namibia. 

Trevor added:

“St Helena is a Territory in a very different context, but many of the issues are similar to those I have worked with before and I look forward to using my experience – together with all sectors of the Island community – to help create a new development path in this exciting time of change.”

SHG

3 March 2013