Mr Eric Benjamin is Sworn In as Speaker of the House
Mr Eric Benjamin is Sworn In as Speaker of the House

Mr Eric Benjamin, of Market Street, Jamestown, has today been officially Sworn In as Speaker of the House of Legislative Council.

Due to being off-Island when he was duly elected at the inaugural meeting of Legislative Council on 24 July, Mr Benjamin took the prescribed Oaths of Office in the presence of His Excellency, Governor Capes, this morning in HE’s Office at the Castle.

Mr Benjamin has already begun his official duties as Speaker following today’s arrival of the delegation from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, who begin their programme of sessions with Councillors this afternoon.

30 July 2013

The first draft of the Social Policy Plan was due to be completed and shared at scheduled community meetings during May and June, following the series of participation meetings that took place earlier in the year.
With around 300 people taking part in developing the Social Policy Plan, it is important that the community gets the chance to consider the plan that they have developed and to provide feedback.
Following the end of Purdah, a draft of the Social Policy Plan is now scheduled to be released to the public.
Meetings will be held from 7pm to 8pm in the following venues; to discuss the draft plan:

• Monday 19 August – Kingshurst Community Centre
• Tuesday 20 August – Jamestown Community Centre
• Thursday 22 August – Levelwood Community Centre
• Wednesday 28 August – Half Tree Hollow Community Centre
• Thursday 29 August – Sandy Bay Community Centre
• Monday 2 September – Longwood Community Centre
• Thursday 5 September – Blue Hill Community Centre

As part of the consultation, and from 30 July 2013, copies of the plan (also available in a larger font) will be available in all of the Island’s Community Centres, the Public Library, local shops, the CCC, Prince Andrew School and the Hospital. In addition to these hard copies, an electronic copy will also be made available on the SHG website.
Following this period of consultation with the public and stakeholders, the plan will be revised before moving through the political process for endorsement by Executive Council.
30 July 2013

St Helena Government has today released the findings of the Ethics at Work Survey carried out for SHG by the UK’s Institute of Business Ethics (IBE) from January to March 2013.

SHG commissioned IBE to survey attitudes to ethics at work on St Helena. The survey forms part of SHG’s work to strengthen good governance and provides baseline figures for SHG to improve its ethical environment.

The survey was carried out primarily for SHG but was also extended to larger private sector businesses and civil society organisations. This allowed SHG to gain an overview of how ethics are perceived at work across St Helena as a whole.

This is the first ethics survey for St Helena and the results are invaluable for ensuring improvements are targeted towards priority areas in the future. SHG’s Ethics Working Group, who managed the project, would like to extend their thanks to all those who took the time to respond to the survey. The Group will now work to address issues raised during the survey.

A summary of the Ethics at Work Survey report (including a forward-looking SHG action plan) along with IBE’s full report can be found on the SHG website under Publications.

30 July 2013

Consumption Must Stay Low to Maintain Stored Water Levels

Despite the intermittent rainfall currently being experienced on St Helena, the water situation in affected areas remains serious.

This week’s headline message is consumption has to remain low to maintain stored water levels in the Redhill distribution zone. These levels, although higher than earlier, are only being maintained by intermittent rainfall and reduced consumption – If the rain stops and consumption levels rise, we could easily slip back into a critical situation.

The public are therefore urged to maintain efforts to reduce domestic water consumption wherever possible and stretch this resource, until we return to normal rainfall patterns.

Members of the public wishing to use untreated water for construction and agricultural purposes are reminded that they need to liaise with Connect St Helena, who will advise them on how much water can be used and where it can be used from.

Connect Saint Helena continues to monitor and collect water volume and consumption data. Contingency measures remain in place should rainfall reduce to a point where it seriously affects stored water levels.

The latest weather forecast indicates a dry day today, turning wetter towards the end of this week. Ahead of us lies the dry period between September/October and March.

Hosepipe Ban and Water Quality

Lowered water consumption in Levelwood is causing water quality issues. Because of the possible health implications which could arise from water staying in the system longer than usual, it has been decided to lift the Hose Pipe ban in the Levelwood area as a temporary measure to flush the system and lower the risk of bacterial water contamination. The Hosepipe ban remains in place for all other areas of the Island.

Residents in the Redhill water zone are also reminded to continue to boil their water as a precautionary measure. Persons consuming the water from Casons do so at their own risk and should heed the signage there.

30 July 2013





Entries are invited from the age of 10 years and upwards.  Images submitted must not be given to any other organisation on or off the Island to use for publicity.   

Subject, categories and numbers of images

All images must be of St Helena.  There are no set categories, but all images of people, places, wildlife and scenery should capture the sights, atmosphere and culture of the Island. 

Image ownership and copyright

All entries must be the original work of the entrant and must not infringe the rights of any other party. The entrants must be the sole owner of copyright in all photographs entered and must have obtained permission of any parents/guardians if children under 16 are featured plus any other relevant third party permissions.  Further, entrants must not have breached any laws when taking their photographs.  Winning images will be displayed on the St Helena Government Website and may be used, without charge in publicity and advertising by SHG, at SHG’s sole discretion.   


Images submitted for judging must be on CDs placed in an envelope accompanying a description of the picture, date taken, photographer’s name, age and contact details and addressed to Ian Jones, Chief Public Relations Officer, 1 Main Street.

Editing and manipulation

Photo-editing software (such as Adobe Photoshop) may be used to edit images.  If an image consists of composite elements from more than one file or image, all parts should be the sole work of the photographer, with no third party involvement. 

Deadline for entries

The closing date for applications is Wednesday 31 July 2013, before 4pm.

Judging panel

The judging panel will consist of photographers experts from a range of specialisms and experience.  


Prizes will be awarded for first (£150), second (£75) and third (£50) in the age categories of 10 – 15 yrs, 16 – 21 yrs and 22 and over.

The inaugural meeting of the newly elected Legislative Council took place on 24 July 2013 in the Court House, Jamestown, commencing at 10am.

The proceedings were opened with the entry of the President, His Excellency Governor Capes, followed by Prayers, the Administration of Oaths and Governor Capes’ address to the Council.

The TV broadcast of the first LegCo meeting after the General Election highlights the swearing in of Councillors, the Governor’s Address and the results of the various elections that were held.

The highlights will be shown on Local TV 1: 

Friday:  7: 30pm

Saturday: 7:30am and 7:30pm

Sunday: 11:00 am

Monday:  8: 00 pm


26 July 2013

At Governor Capes’ invitation and financed by the Governor’s Delegated Fund, a Delegation from the UK Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) will arrive on-Island on Tuesday 30 July.  The Delegation, working with senior SHG officials, will hold a series of seminars for newly elected Councillors, as a major part of their induction process.

The seven-day induction programme has been designed to strengthen and promote good governance in St Helena. 

Members of the Delegation will brief Councillors on their role as Councillors, the leadership required from them, strategic policy making and the function of Committees, dealing with conflicting pressures, working with officials, the importance of keeping the community informed, effective communication, scrutiny and the accountability of Councillors, and the ethical behaviour and standards that are expected from Elected Members. 

Governor Capes said:

‘I am grateful to the CPA for responding so positively to my request for a small team to visit St Helena at this important moment, to help prepare our recently elected Councillors to carry out their new responsibilities.

‘I recognise that it represents a significant commitment from the visiting team in terms of time away from their many duties in the UK and I much appreciate their willingness to assist. Although it is quite costly to bring the team here for a week, I believe it makes good use of the Delegated Funds provided to me by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Our Councillors have a heavy agenda ahead and I want to give them the best possible start.’       

Members of the CPA Delegation are: 

  • Lord Shutt of Greetland OBE FCA (a former Deputy Chief Whip in the House of Lords)
  • Barry Paint (an Elected Member – or ‘Deputy’ – on the Island of Guernsey)
  • Tim Crookall (a Member of the House of Keys on the Isle of Man)
  • Joyce Watson (Welsh Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales since  2007), and
  • John Grimes (former Head of Governance at the National Assembly for Wales)



26 July 2013

The public are reminded that as of Thursday, 25 July 2013, slight changes have been made to the bus timetable.

Changes to the timetable are:

On Route C the two trips from Jamestown leaving at 11.30am and again at 12.30pm are now merged. Currently the trip which leaves Jamestown at 11.30am travels to Ladder Hill, Half Tree Hollow, New Ground and White Wall, returning to Jamestown at 12.20pm. The bus which leaves Jamestown at 12.30pm travels to Ladder Hill, White Wall, New Ground and terminates at White Gate.

Now, the merged, single trip leaves the Grand Parade, Jamestown at 12 noon, travels to Ladder Hill, Half Tree Hollow, White Wall, New Ground, Cleughs Plain, Rosemary Plain, and Scotland, before terminating at White Gate. Following this termination, the normal Route B runs, beginning at 1.35pm (details of this run can be found on the existing timetable).

The public should note that this newly merged trip from Jamestown will not run on a Wednesday and Sunday. Similar trips running on these days will leave Jamestown at 8.30am, 3pm and 9pm. These trips on a Wednesday will now only travel as far as the CCC. But subject to the demand of Hospital staff also using this run, the bus might travel further, to take staff home.

These changes to the revised timetable will cut out less frequently used routes and offer more ‘in demand’ routes.

26 July 2013

Legislative Council 2013
Legislative Council 2013
Inaugural Meeting of Legislative Council 2013
Inaugural Meeting of Legislative Council 2013

The inaugural meeting of the newly elected Legislative Council took place today in the Court House, Jamestown, starting at 10am.

The proceedings were opened with the entry of the President, His Excellency Governor Capes, followed by Prayers and the Administration of Oaths. Governor Capes presided until the Speaker was elected.

Oaths were taken before the Governor, first by Ex-Officio Members, the Acting Chief Secretary, Acting Financial Secretary and the Attorney General, and then by Elected Members.

Governor Capes then addressed Legislative Council (see earlier press release) after which the following elections took place:

Election of Speaker and Deputy Speaker

Mr Eric Benjamin was elected as Speaker of the House, with Mrs Cathy Hopkins as Deputy Speaker. Following these elections and due to Mr Benjamin currently being off-Island, Madam Deputy Speaker assumed chairmanship (once the appropriate Oaths had been taken).

In her address to the House, Madam Deputy Speaker reminded Members of the weight of responsibility they now carry during their term in Office as leaders of the community – how the Island progresses will be theirs to frame. She wished them well and offered her full support.

Election of Committee Chairmen

Elected Members were then asked to elect from amongst themselves Chairmen for the five Council Committees. The following were elected:

Economic Development Committee – Councillor Lawson Henry

Education Committee – Councillor Christine Scipio-O’Dean

Environment & Natural Resources Committee – Councillor Cyril George

Health &Social Services Committee – Councillor Ian Rummery

Social & Community Development Committee – Councillor Nigel Dollery

Members of these committees will be appointed by Governor Capes after consultation with the relevant Chairmen. Detailed allocations of responsibilities will be dealt with separately to allow for consultation with the new Councillors on the detail of which Committees cover which areas.

Election of Executive Council Members

Members elected to serve on Executive Council were Councillors Lawson Henry, Ian Rummery, Cyril George, Christine Scipio-O’Dean and Nigel Dollery.

Election of Members of the Public Accounts Committee

The final election was for three members to serve on the Public Accounts Committee, Members elected were Councillors Brian Isaac, Tony Green and Leslie Baldwin.

The final business of the morning was the customary Adjournment Debate, allowing Members to speak on issues they wished to take forward. This was followed with a response from Acting Chief Secretary, Gillian Francis in which she congratulated newly Elected Members, the Speaker and Deputy Speaker and thanked Directors and employees of SHG and ESH for their ongoing hard work and support.

The meeting closed around 12.30pm.

24 July 2013

This morning HE Governor Capes addressed the first meeting of the St Helena Legislative Council since the General Election held on 17 July 2013. Here is the Governor’s Address in full:

“My Lord Bishop, I thank you warmly for your presence here this morning and for inviting God’s blessings and guidance. Thank you also, for all that you do, with such enthusiasm, love and compassion, for our community.

Honourable Members, colleagues, I welcome this opportunity to address you at the beginning of the term of this new Legislative Council. I should like first to congratulate each one of you for standing for election and on winning the confidence of those that you are here to represent. I offer special acknowledgment to Councillor Olsson who I believe is here to serve on Council for her fifth term. I should also acknowledge those that stood unsuccessfully at the General Election. I thank them for their willingness to serve the people of St Helena.

It would be most remiss of me not to pause here, to mention the excellent work of the Returning Officer, Mrs Gilly Francis. She, and her team, managed the preparations for the election and the count itself quite superbly. Mrs Francis, currently our acting Chief Secretary, is an outstanding public servant and trusted colleague whose professionalism sets the high standard that others may strive to achieve; I am most grateful to her.

My thanks also to our hugely capable and experienced Attorney General, Ken Baddon, for his invaluable input to the election process and for the steady supply of sound advice that he so readily provides to guide our work. That I have enjoyed every single day of my work here is due in large part to having such first class colleagues.

During the run up to the General Election, one often heard the remark that this would be the most important General Election in the history of St Helena. I would not disagree. The status quo of seemingly endless dependency on DfID has gone forever. St Helena is on a new compass bearing now, one that steers away from reliance on the taxes of people 5,000 miles away. We are approaching a new era, an era that will bring many challenges, as well as new opportunities. At the dawn of air access in 2016, this Legislative Council will be in the driving seat. Whether St Helena is well positioned, ready to prosper and benefit from this new era, will depend on you. Whether the people of St Helena will be properly prepared, ready to face that new era with confidence, without fear, will depend on you. The people of St Helena have put their trust in you to guide the Island.

I believe that they want you to deliver greater opportunity and prosperity, ensuring that all who live here can share in that prosperity, ensuring that those who need extra help and care will receive it and ensuring that the environment and cultural heritage is properly safeguarded. I believe that is the essence of the challenge that you face. And the people of St Helena, to whom you are accountable, will rightly judge you on your performance.

You will have your own ideas on how to meet the challenge ahead. But I should like to offer to you a few thoughts on laying the foundations for progress; thoughts that are drawn from my observations over the past year or so.

The people look to you for leadership. They want to see leadership. I urge you to provide that leadership and the accountability that must accompany it. That involves being prepared to explain and stand by your decisions. When the going gets tough, it is important to resist taking the ignoble route of looking to officials or others to provide cover for your decisions. You make the decisions, you own them, you explain and justify them.

Encourage good communication and trust between each other and with public servants. Avoid being labelled as one of those that constantly criticise and find fault. How idle it is, how utterly unhelpful and negative it is, to just criticise and blame others. How much more constructive, how much more intelligent, to work, to work together, to find a remedy.

Tell the people where you are taking St Helena. An absolutely vital and continuous part of your job must be to make the time to explain fully to the people where we are heading and why; and crucially, what that will mean for them.

I offer these thoughts for you to consider as you prepare to take on the heavy responsibility of government. You may choose to disregard them of course, but if you were to heed them I believe that you would soon improve the historically poor image that many people have of Councillors, and by extension of government. My challenge to you, starting from today, is to improve the reputation and worth of Councillors in the eyes of the people of this Island.

For my part, as Governor and head of the government, I commit to working with you and with officials to help meet the challenges ahead to serve the best interests of all the people of St Helena. Let us work together, in partnership, to build a stronger St Helena, to deliver the full potential of this wonderfully special and much loved Island.

Thank you.”

Governor Mark Capes
24 July 2013