The Economic Development Committee has agreed a slight amendment to the Agricultural Water Subsidy Policy to reflect the increase in water tariffs by Connect Saint Helena Ltd from 1 July 2018.

To this effect, subsidy payments have increased from a rate of £0.13 per cube to £0.28 per cube for agricultural untreated water and from £0.25 per cube to £0.56 per cube for agricultural treated water from 1 July.

The Agricultural Water Subsidy Policy was introduced by SHG in September 2017 following notice by Connect that there would be an increase in water tariffs from 1 October 2017.

The policy is targeted to agricultural producers and its aim is to reduce the impact on agricultural production as a result of increases in water tariffs.  It applies to users of agricultural untreated water and agricultural treated water under Connect’s tariff structure.

Key conditions attached to subsidy being made available to an agricultural producer include:

  • Producers should have access to an agricultural meter to demonstrate their water being subsidised was being used for agricultural production.  This will require them to meet the cost of having an agricultural meter installed/retained
  • Payment of subsidy is made on the basis of receipt of the Connect utility bill for the period being claimed for
  • Subsidy can only be paid within a financial year for water consumption occurring during that financial year
  • Production data for the period claimed for is made available to the Agriculture & Natural Resources Division (ANRD) when the subsidy is claimed for
  • In the instance where SHG funding is limited or not available to support producers for a tariff increase, a quarterly or annual cap on the amount of subsidy a producer receives may need to be applied or the policy withdrawn until funding is available

Since the subsidy policy was introduced, agricultural producers have claimed subsidy for 4,529 units of untreated water and 259 units of treated water.

Persons wishing to view a hard copy of the Agricultural Water Subsidy Policy should contact the Receptionists at the Environment & Natural Resources Directorate or at ANRD. Electronic copies are also available from Andrea Timm at ANRD on tel: 24724 or email: andy-timm@enrd.gov.sh.

Persons with any queries regarding the subsidy or who would like to register for subsidy payments as an agricultural producer should also contact Andrea via the above details.

#StHelena #ConnectSaintHelena #WaterTariffs #AgriculturalWaterSubsidyPolicy

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SHG
23 July 2018

St Helena’s new Pharmacist, Vlad-Dorin Cucuiu arrived at St Helena on Saturday, 30 June 2018.

Vlad has been appointed on a two-year contract and his main duties will include providing over-the-counter advice and prescribing to patients with minor ailments, ensuring  safe and clinical effective prescribing for inpatients and outpatients by liaising closely with medical and nursing staff, and reviewing the medication formulary and order before sending to suppliers.

Vlad commented:

“I have always been fascinated by the opportunity to work on St Helena as I am passionate about history. The beautiful landscape and the opportunity to make a difference as a Pharmacist on the Island drew me instantly to the position.

“I hope to continue the good work done by the pharmacy team through helping our patients to achieve more from their medications.”

 Acting Director of Health, Helen Lawrence, added:

“The Health Directorate is delighted to welcome Vlad as the new Pharmacist.  Vlad is a well experienced Pharmacist and a valuable addition to the Health Team. We look forward to working with him and wish him every success in his role.”

 Before coming to St Helena, Vlad had been working in the UK National Health Service.   Vlad finalised his Pharmacy Bachelor’s Degree in 2005 in Romania and his Master’s Degree in 2006. In 2015, Vlad completed his Psychiatric Medication Certificate and is currently working to finalise his clinical diploma.

 #StHelena #NewAppointment # Pharmacist

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 SHG

20 July 2018

St Helena Government’s Environmental Management Division (EMD) has received a grant of £72,000 from the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to establish a monitoring and education programme which aims to reduce the amount of plastic entering the marine ecosystem, establish plastic recycling, and reduce the cost of waste disposal.

The project –  ‘Sustainably managing plastic waste on St Helena to minimise marine debris’ –  will be delivered in partnership between EMD’s Marine Section and Waste Management Services (WMS), the Saint Helena National Trust and SHAPE – St Helena’s Active Participation in Enterprise.

The grant will be used to:

  • Establish a marine debris monitoring programme along St Helena’s coastline
  • Monitor the use of single use plastic on-Island and how much of this enters St Helena’s waters
  • Educate and raise awareness of marine debris and its negative impact
  • Locally manufacture plastic recycling equipment
  • Purchase dedicated bins for plastic recycling for distribution around the Island
  • Promote and incentivise innovative reuses of plastics on-Island

EMD’s Marine Conservation Officer of EMD, Rhys Hobbs, said:

“This is a fantastic opportunity to work with multiple organisations across the Island to continue to keep our beaches and marine environment free of plastic debris whilst also delivering a long term plastic recycling solution.”

 Environmental Risk Manager, Mike Durnford, added:

We’re committed to helping our customers keep St Helena clean. This project, designed to raise awareness of the negative impact of marine debris and enable innovative recycling and reuse of plastics on-Island, is a hugely exciting milestone in our sustainability journey and in line with Waste Management Services’ mission statement of ‘working in partnership with customers for a cleaner and greener St Helena’. Community engagement, to responsibly dispose of plastic waste, is critical for the project to be successful.”

Work is already underway, with the Public Recycling Facility at Horse Point Landfill Site benefitting from a new plastics waste bay (photo attached).

The Saint Helena National Trust will collaborate with EMD and SHAPE and will contribute to the project by continuing their beach cleans, dive litter picks, marine debris data collection, public engagement and school education programs.

Marine Project Manager of the Saint Helena National Trust, Beth Taylor, said:

We are thrilled to be part of this wave of change on St Helena. This collaborative project is ambitious, innovative, and wide reaching in its scope and it shows just how committed the Island is to tackling marine debris. I can’t wait to see the physical evolution of plastics from marine debris to useful and unique items, developed by the wonderfully creative community at SHAPE.”

SHAPE will contribute to the project by conducting life cycle assessments of the plastic items imported to the Island, educate the public about ways to minimise their plastic use and waste, as well as how to properly dispose of it on-Island, conduct quarterly beach clean-ups in order to collect plastics for recycling and collect data, recycle new innovative products made from the plastic waste and market the finished upcycled plastic products both locally and internationally.

Recycling Supervisor of SHAPE, Tracey Stroud-Belgrove, said:

As the author Robert Swan said, ‘the greatest threat to our environment is the belief that someone else will save it’. This is a fantastic opportunity for multiple organisations and the community to work together in protecting the environment and protecting our marine life. SHAPE is extremely excited to be able to create new recycled products from everyone’s efforts.”

This programme is a great opportunity to help involve residents of St Helena in protecting their marine ecosystem from the damage caused as a result of plastic waste.

For further information, please contact Marine Conservation Officer, Rhys Hobbs, on tel: 22270 ext 213 or via email: rhys.hobbs@enrd.gov.sh.

#StHelena #DEFRA #PlasticRecycling #Partnership

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 SHG

20 July 2018

 

The Appropriation Bill 2018 which provides for public services for the financial year 2018/19 was approved by Executive Council on Thursday, 12 July 2018, to stand as Government business at the next formal meeting of Legislative Council to be held on Friday, 27 July 2018.

The Budget Session will be held in the Council Chamber and will commence with the Budget Speech by the Financial Secretary.  The Motion will be adjourned until Monday, 30 July 2018, when Legislative Council will debate the proposed Budget.

The Budget proposes public expenditure of £40.9 million.  This represents a decrease in public expenditure primarily resulting from the cessation of the RMS St Helena freight and passenger service to the Island.

This expenditure is proposed to be funded as follows:

  • Customs revenue of £5.9 million
  • Tax revenue of £5.0 million
  • Other local revenue of £2.5 million
  • DFID Financial Aid of up to £27.1 million
  • FCO CSSF funding support of up to £0.2 million

The expenditure is further supported by a withdrawal from the Consolidated Fund of £0.09 million that represents the unspent committed funding in the previous financial year allocated to Health of £0.08 million for the purchase of essential medical equipment and Environment & Natural Resources of £0.01 million.

The proposed Budget will see an overall reduction in the recurrent budget of £0.4 million for Health.  Health undertook to review the current funding allocated to overseas medical treatment and the aero-medical evacuation budgets.  Based on current trend and analysis, it is proposed to reduce the aero-medical evacuation budget by £0.9 million and increase the overseas medical treatment budget by £0.5 million.  This has resulted in an overall decrease in budget in comparison to the previous year by £0.4 million.

An overall increase is proposed for Corporate Finance of £2.5 million.  This increase primarily covers funding to maintain certification of St Helena Airport, pension contributions for Government employees, additional funding to support the St Helena Fisheries Corporation and funding allocated for Connect Saint Helena Ltd for subsidy to limit tariff increases in this financial year.  Also included is the specific funding allocated by DFID for litigation and associated costs. This funding is provided on a contingency basis and if not utilised by SHG the funding will not be released by DFID. The proposed increase also includes the Airport Contract Management Unit budget where previously this has been funded as a separate budget by DFID but has now been incorporated into the SHG recurrent budget.

An increase in the Safeguarding budget of £0.4 million is also proposed.  There are four key areas within Safeguarding where it is proposed to allocate additional funding, this includes proposed additional funding to support the Home Care Policy, funding to develop a specialist service provision for children and young people with complex needs, funding to increase staffing capacity at the Community Care Complex and funding to support the Child in Need policy.

The Budget also includes a reduction in funding for Enterprise St Helena of £0.3 million and an increase in funding allocated for Income Related Benefits and Basic Island Pension of £0.2 million.

Further details of what is included in the proposed Government Budget for the financial year 2018/19 can be found in the Annual Estimates 2018/19 which is available on the SHG website at: http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/finance/

#StHelena #AppropriationBill2018 #AnnualEstimates #Budget

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SHG
20 July 2018

During the public meeting at the Half Tree Hollow Community Centre on Wednesday, 4 July 2018, to discuss the proposed water tariffs, in response to one of the questions Elected Members gave an undertaking to provide details to the public in both papers, the amount of funding Connect Saint Helena Ltd (Connect) has received since divested, through the Capital Programme and what the various funding streams were for.

The total budget provided to Connect from the Capital Programme from 2013-18 was £5,474,738.20. A breakdown of the works and associated costs is given below:

 2013-14

 Expenditure of £1,572,536.65 was incurred in 2013-14 and was for the following works listed below.  Data to determine the actual amounts incurred to each work stream is not readily available:

  • Consultancy with Fairhurst to review the Island’s water works
  • Water work refurbishments which included areas such as:
    • Bottom Woods
    • Model Cottage

2014-15

 Expenditure of £1,746,569.30 was incurred in 2014-15 and was for the following works listed below.  Data to determine the actual amounts incurred to each work stream is not readily available:

  • Land Surveys for water systems
  • Levelwood to Sandy Bay bulk water supply
  • Rose Hill to Woody Ridge bulk water supply
  • Frenches Gut to Head O’wain water supply pipeline
  • High Knoll treated water supply
  • Upgrade of Red Hill raw water systems

2015-16

Expenditure of £731,061 was incurred in 2015-16 for the below works:

Upgrading of Red Hill raw water abstraction systems 30,000.00
Upgrading of Hutts Gate raw water abstraction systems 15,000.00
Construction of Chubbs Spring Generator Room 12,775.00
Construction of Levelwood Generator Room 8,358.84
Installation of Clarifiers 15,000.00
Harpers 2 Construction of silt traps and access 57,939.05
Consultancies: New/Enlarged reservoirs (Harpers 3, Hutts Gate and Levelwood) 80,000.00
Enlargement of Harpers 3 reservoir 268,537.13
New untreated water supply system for Ropery Field agricultural development 10,000.00
Fishers Valley to Longwood raw water pumping system 233,451.85

2016-17

Expenditure of £1,031,001.88 was incurred in 2016-17 for the below works:

Harpers 3 44,390.15
Gents Bath Abstraction System and Upgrade access 40,245.00
Harpers 1 Enlargement 41,011.00
Hutts Gate 2 reservoir 313,872.56
Transfer System 1: Chubbs Spring – Scotts Mill 97,707.37
Transfer System 2 – Airport Fire Tank – Fishers Valley 103,219.38
Transfer System 3: Sharks Valley to Hutts Gate 100,862.42
Feasibility Study: Deep Aquifer Drilling 41,194.00
Deep Aquifer Drilling exploration 248,500.00

2017-18

Expenditure of £393,568.50 was incurred in 2017-18 for the below works:

Transfer System 1: Chubbs Spring – Scotts Mill 49,950.00
Transfer System 2 – Airport Fire Tank – Fishers Valley 28,864.50
Transfer System 3: Sharks Valley to Hutts Gate 118,802.00
Feasibility Study: Deep Aquifer Drilling 14,806.00
Deep Aquifer Drilling exploration 181,146.00

#StHelena #ConnectSaintHelena #CapitalProgramme #Funding

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SHG
19 July 2018

A public meeting to discuss the current work of the Natural Capital Assessment Project, led by Project Manager Ness Smith from the South Atlantic Environmental Research Institute, will be held at the Jamestown Community Centre on Tuesday, 24 July 2018, at 7pm.

The Natural Capital Assessment Project is funded by the UK Government and is working with SHG and other stakeholders to identify and value the many benefits which St Helena’s natural environment provides. These benefits include water, food, tourism and the simple pleasure of a walk by the sea. Such assessments can help to better plan for the future and ensure that the next generation of Saints will continue to enjoy these benefits.

A short overview of the project will be presented at the meeting followed by a Q&A session. All are invited to attend.

#StHelena #NatCap #PublicMeeting 

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SHG
19 July 2018

At the end of June 2018, the number of St Helenians on St Helena was estimated to be 4,300, almost 7% higher than at the end of June 2017, and very close to the peak number of 4,334 recorded at the end of December 2017. According to the latest Statistical Bulletin, the estimated number of persons on St Helena altogether, residents plus visitors, was 4,663 – a 5.3% annual increase.

Total on-Island and St Helenian population

The Statistical Bulletin, released by the Statistics Office today, also includes detailed estimates on arrivals and departures from the start of scheduled air operations in October 2017. There have been more than 2,600 arrivals by air since October, with 841 in the second quarter of 2018, an expected seasonal drop of around 200 compared to the first quarter. The Bulletin also includes details about the reasons for travelling to St Helena, the nationality and demographic profile of short-term tourists and visitors, and the number of nights they spent on St Helena.

Numbers of births and deaths are also included in the Bulletin; so far in 2018 there have been twice as many deaths as births, 26 compared to 13, continuing the trend observed in recent years.

The full Statistical Bulletin can be found on the St Helena Government website here: http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/statistical-bulletin-no-8-2018/ Detailed data can be accessed in Excel format from the ‘Population’ file at: www.sainthelena.gov.sh/statistics-data.

 

#StHelena #Statistics #Population #StatsNews

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SHG
19 July 2018

This Bulletin presents the latest estimates of the size of the population of St Helena, the number of arrivals and departures (including detailed statistics on arrivals by air), and the number of births and deaths.

The data released in this Bulletin can be downloaded in Excel format from the ‘Population’ file on the St Helena Statistics website at: www.sainthelena.gov.sh/statistics-data.

Population estimates

At the end of June 2018 the number of St Helenians on St Helena was estimated to be 4,300, almost 7% higher than at the end of June 2017, and very close to the peak number of 4,334 recorded at the end of December 2017. The estimated number of persons on St Helena, residents plus visitors, was 4,663, is a slight decrease compared to the end of March 2018, but a 5.3% annual increase compared to the end of June 2017.

Arrivals and departures

The total number of arrivals for the second quarter of 2018 was estimated to be 1,093 (see Table 1). This is much lower than the 1,852 arrivals in the first quarter, when both the new scheduled air service and the RMS St Helena were operating. However compared to a year ago, when there were 770 arrivals in the second quarter, it is a significant increase of 323 people or more than 40%.

Of the 1,093 arrivals in the second quarter, 77% (841) arrived by air, with the remainder arriving by yachts or ships, usually in transit to other destinations. As expected, as a result of moving into the off-peak season, the number of air arrivals in the second quarter was around 200 less than the first quarter, when 1,038 people arrived by air. The last and first quarters of each year usually see a larger number of visits, since these are the warmer months on St Helena, and St Helenians living overseas tend to visit during this period (see Chart 2).

Since the scheduled air service began, 30% of all persons arriving by air have been tourists – excluding those St Helenians who live abroad returning for a short-term holiday, who were around 16% of all persons. People returning to their home on St Helena were a further 24%, and those arriving on St Helena for business, including persons and their families recruited overseas to work on St Helena, were 25% (Chart 3).

Within the group of passengers who came to St Helena for a short-term holiday visit, 35% were St Helenian, 22% were British, and 21% were South African – comprising together just under 80% of all arrivals. Of the remainder, most were from countries in Europe (Chart 4).

Further details of air arrivals are given in Table 1, and in the ‘Population’ data file at www.sainthelena.gov.sh/statistics-data.

Even though the number of tourists arriving on St Helena was greater than the number of St Helenians arriving for a holiday to visit family and friends, the total number of nights they stayed on the island was less. This is because, on average, visiting St Helenians tend to stay longer than those visiting for tourism purposes (Chart 5).

Table 2 has more details, including totals by quarter and the average length of stay for St Helenians on holiday visits (30 days per visitor) and for non-St Helenian tourists (10 days per tourist). More data, including figures by month from 2010 onwards, are given in the ‘Population’ data file at www.sainthelena.gov.sh/statistics-data.

The total number of departures for the second quarter of 2018 was 1,139, substantially less than the first quarter (1,957) but about the same as the fourth quarter of 2017. This reflects the typical observed seasonal pattern, when St Helenians visiting for the Christmas period return in the first quarter of the year. Just over two–thirds of all departures were people returning to their usual place of residence. Some 14% were people who left to take up an overseas employment opportunity or to emigrate, and a further 10% were residents of St Helena departing for a holiday (see Table 3).

Births and deaths

In the second quarter of 2018, there were a total of seven births and 13 deaths registered on St Helena; this is almost the same as the previous quarter, when there were also 13 deaths, but six births.

However the number of births almost halved compared to the same period of 2017, where 13 births were reported. In recent years, the number of deaths has exceeded births – during the last twelve months, there have been 27 births and 57 deaths.

The monthly meeting of the Economic Development Committee (EDC) was held on Thursday, 5 July 2018, and the following is a summary of the main items discussed:

Enterprise St Helena (ESH) delivered a report for the month of June. Local aspirations to enhance and develop product and service offerings continue and has resulted in 15 applications benefitting 12 entities, one potential business start-up and one youth start-up since 1 April 2018.

Following progress of the Fisheries Improvement Plan Working Group and investment aspects, the ESH Board gave the approval for the ‘downsizing’ of the St Helena Fisheries Corporation freezers. This project was approved by the ESH Board in March and is likely to conclude in October and will result in a more efficient and sustainable holding storage facility at the factory. Exploration of the ESH Pilot Project that focuses on enhancing the local fishing vessels’ capacity for premium tuna continues. It is envisaged that such project will be drafted for ESH and DFID consideration during August.

Following the advertisement for Expressions of Interests for individuals and businesses looking to up-skill and sustain traditional crafts and trades, shoe repair, upholstery, tailoring, sail repair, wood turning, inlay etc in June, three existing businesses responded and are willing to provide training. A second round of advertising/campaigning will take place so that potential trainees can be identified.

The Government Economist gave a brief update on the progress of the Investment Strategy. The options for how any new scheme could be administered, the type of investments which would be favoured and the tax incentives which could be available are being developed.

The Agriculture & Natural Resources Division provided a short update on their proposal to import live chickens to St Helena in the next few months to support local egg production for business and small-holder purposes. A further update will be provided to EDC at their next meeting so that details can be shared with the public.

#StHelena #EconomicDevelopmentCommittee #EDC

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SHG

19 July 2018

The St Helena Community College (SHCC) has established a partnership with the Open University. The Open University, with more than 250,000 students enrolled and more than 50,000 overseas students, is the largest academic institution in the United Kingdom and one of the largest in Europe.

Director of Education & Employment, Shirley Wahler, said:

“One of the greatest achievements of the SHCC so far has been our very successful partnership with the Open University. Through the university, SHCC students now have access to over 100 different higher education qualifications. Our students can even choose to design their own ‘Open Degrees’. This means that Saints can achieve world-class qualifications without ever leaving home.”

The Open University awards degrees and other higher education qualifications including Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE), Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE), and Honours degrees (Bachelors), all through distance learning. The flexibility of distance learning makes it a popular, appealing option, as students can study at their own pace and to suit their lifestyles. For busy people, this form of learning is the ideal alternative to being physically on campus.

The Open University also gives students the opportunity to study Open Qualifications. This will allow students to build a qualification that’s unique to them. Open Qualifications are immensely flexible, because students can study any subjects they like, in any combination.

#StHelena #SHCC #OpenUniversity #HigherEducation #OpportunitiesForAll #SomethingForEveryone

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SHG
19 July 2018