The Immigration Service would like to advise all persons travelling with children under the age of 18 to South Africa of a change in entry regulations.  Parents may be asked to show an Immigration Officer a full birth certificate (including both parents’ names) for all travelling children.  This applies even when both parents are travelling with their own children into South Africa and has been introduced in an attempt to reduce instances of child trafficking through South Africa.  This is not specific to St Helena – It applies to all children travelling through all South African sea and air ports.  The revised regulations apply both to South African citizens and to visitors.

These changes are expected to be implemented on Wednesday 1October 2014.  There is no change to Ascension Island or UK entry controls relating to children at this time.

For children born in St Helena, birth certificates can be obtained from the Customer Service Centre in Jamestown.  For those children born in the UK, the following address may be used to order a replacement birth certificate: https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/default.asp.   Sufficient time should also be allowed ahead of your departure from St Helena to receive the certificate by post from the UK.  A one day despatch service is available.  Services vary in other countries.

Until Wednesday 1 October 2014, there is no country specific guidance for parents travelling with children to South Africa.  However, single parents, or a parent travelling alone with their child or those travelling abroad with children for whom they do not have parental responsibility, should generally obtain an affidavit or letter of authority from person(s) with parental responsibility prior to travel.  General UK guidance is available online at: https://www.gov.uk/permission-take-child-abroad.

Further information is available from the Immigration Office in Ogborn House, Jamestown – telephone no: (00290) 22236.

SHG

21 July 2014

Reports last week in the UK media dismayed Saints here and around the world.  The response issued by the five members of Executive Council on 16 July, under the heading ‘St Helena Island Falsely portrayed’, accurately captures the mood of Saints everywhere.

I am sure that the many good friends of St Helena around the world would subscribe to the views expressed by the Councillors.

As Governor of St Helena and Ascension Island, I should draw attention to two important points arising from the sensationalist UK media headlines and the 16 July statement by Councillors.

In their statement the Councillors said: ‘Councillors and Government here welcome any objective and independent review of our current arrangements’.

I want to highlight that remark which I strongly endorse. In recent years, we have openly welcomed and cooperated fully with several independent reviews. As in any small community, we recognise that external assessment is often the best option to establish the facts and, importantly, to withstand any suspicion of a lack of objectivity.  The allegations made in the UK media articles about St Helena and Ascension Island are serious and we must now address them. To that end, we will consider urgently with our partners in the UK Government how to examine the allegations carefully, to establish the facts and, crucially, to do that in a way that will ensure confidence in both the process and the outcome.

The second point I want to stress is that, despite the UK media reports, anyone who is suffering or has suffered because of abuse of any kind, should still have confidence in coming forward to seek help from the Island authorities. As our Children’s Champion, Councillor Christine Scipio O’Dean, noted in the 16 July statement, ’We have taken great steps on St Helena (and Ascension Island) to protect our children and vulnerable people against abuse of any kind’.

That is right and much good work continues to boost resources and to strengthen procedures.   The governments of St Helena and Ascension Island remain firmly committed to protecting children and the vulnerable in society.

Governor Mark Capes

20 July 2014

The consultation process for proposed paid leave and sick leave in the private sector will form the basis of a report that will identify the next steps forward. Both employers’ and employees’ opinions will be fully considered as part of this review.

The Human Rights Office will be open to assist with the consultation by taking individuals through the simple questionnaire provided.  Private sector employees are urged to attend and make their views known.                                                               

The Human Rights Office will be open at the following times:

  • Monday 21 July to Friday 1 August, 9am – 5pm (normal working hours)
  • Saturday 26 July, 10am – 1pm
  • Tuesday 22 & Thursday 24 July, additional opening until 7pm

The Human Rights Office is situated at the rear entrance to No3 Main Street.  Access can be gained from the road in between St James Church and No 1 Main Street.

A private sector open access event will also be held at the Jamestown Community Centre on Wednesday 23 July at 7pm.

SHG

21 July 2014

 

Storyteller at St Pauls School
Storyteller at St Pauls School

Young people on St Helena have been the first to trial and pilot a prototype learning device, called Storyteller, developed by the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, UK.  This has now been tested at the Island’s three primary schools by Heidi Bauer-Clapp from the Department for Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts in the USA, who is leading the project.

Heidi commented:

“I have received very positive responses from students on St Helena.  Even though this is a prototype device and when tested it does not always work well, the students remained enthusiastic and adaptable – especially liking the photos that were printed by Storyteller.”

Storyteller, shaped like a salad bowl, is activated by students shaking it.  The device then prints text, photos, facts and transmits audio files, in specific chapters – in this case based on the slavery exhibition relating to St Helena currently on display at the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool.  The eventual idea is that the device will be used by schoolchildren who are due to visit the museum, and actually at the museum, to give them a more comprehensive experience of exhibits.

Heidi said:

“The device allows students to be able to think about topics in advance and to better connect with the story told by exhibitions. This particular device is loaded with information based on St Helena’s role in the transatlantic slave trade and the findings in Rupert’s Valley.”  

Feedback from the students included that the pace of issuing information could be quicker, and that you need to be able to go back to a chapter if you wish to hear an audio file again or concentrate on that one area.  The design team will take these suggestions, and others from children on St Helena, into account when designing the final device – that will be linked to the internet and widely used at the International Slavery Museum.

Heidi has also been collaborating with Years 5 and 6 in St Helena’s Primary Schools on an exhibition which will be shown at the Jamestown Museum.  Here, students will showcase what they have learnt about Liberated Africans, the Rupert’s excavation and on what archaeologists do.  Opening times are as follows:

  • Friday 25 July, 10am-4pm (Storyteller device will be on view from 2-4pm)
  • Saturday 26 July, 10am-12pm and 6-8pm (Storyteller device will be on view at both times)
  • Monday 28 and Tuesday 29 July, 10am-4pm
  • Wednesday 30 July, 10am-12pm

One picture is attached to this release.

 

SHG

18 July 2014

 

A new Code of Ethics for the Police is launched today, following extensive development and consultation. The Code – based on the UK Code of Ethics for Policing – outlines the standards of professional behaviour that the Police Service is committed to delivering in serving the community on St Helena and Ascension Island. The Code of Ethics is now available from the Police Station and on the SHG website at: http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/police-directorate/.

The code sets out the standards of professional behaviour and values that are required of police officers and staff.  These standards are summarised below, with more detail to be found in the full Code of Ethics document. Staff are expected to deliver:

 

  • Honesty and Integrity
  • Respect and Courtesy
  • Equality and Diversity
  • Confidentiality
  • Good Conduct
  • Challenging and Reporting Improper Behaviour
  • Fitness for Work
  • Orders, Instructions, Duties and Responsibilities

 

Chief of Police, Trevor Botting, explained:

‘Our community deserves a service from the Police that engenders trust and confidence, is open and transparent and puts Public Service at the core of what we do. The new Code of Ethics and the values associated with it sets the bar high, but I am confident that the officers and staff working in the Police Directorate will meet and exceed that standard in our work.’

Policing Directorate

SHG

18 July 2014

 

Phil Sharman
Phil Sharman

Returns to St Helena after 20 years

Arriving to the Island on 7 July 2014 was new Chief Auditor, Phil Sharman (photo attached). Phil returns to the Island as Chief Auditor almost 20 years after completing his previous four year contract in a similar role.

Phil will be on Island for the next three years and as Chief Auditor his primary function will be to audit and report upon the accounts of Government and state-owned enterprises.

Phil explains:

“The Chief Auditor has a clear mandate to work with the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and Government to promote public accountability and consider whether value for money has been secured in the use of resources.”

An independent and professional public audit function is a fundamental of effective corporate governance across the public and commercial sectors. Supported by a team of nine, one of the key activities of the Chief Auditor is to provide a safeguard over public funds through auditing the accounts of Government and the public sector and undertaking Value for Money reviews, before reporting back to the PAC.

During his first week in office, Phil has been meeting with key colleagues in Government, including some of those he worked with 20 years ago. He has also discussed with his Audit team professional developments and what can be built on and adopted going forward.

Phil said:

“With both professionally qualified and staff undertaking studies, the Audit Office is building capacity and capability in response to the strengthening of audit and accounting standards internationally. There is clear commitment to developing effective audit and Parliamentary oversight across the British Overseas Territories, as underlined recently by the Joint Ministerial Council.”

Personally, Phil is very much looking forward to being on St Helena for the next three years. He commented:

“Both my wife and I loved our previous time on St Helena and have maintained an interest in the Island ever since. Our previous time coincided with the introduction of the current RMS St Helena and it was marvellous to sail with her again. It is a privilege to return to make a further contribution to the development of St Helena at another important moment in the Island’s history, as the Airport approaches in 2016.

 “Professionally, I am delighted to find that Connie Stevens and Liz March who worked with me previously remain part of the team. Connie is now a professionally qualified accountant and member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, and is Audit Manager which is great.  We are investing in our team and the recent development of the St Helena Audit Service has been ably supported by John Gilchrist, who completes his contract as Audit Executive in July 2014.”

Since leaving the Island in 1994, Phil has held leading roles in public audit functions in the Turks & Caicos Islands, the National Health Service in Wales and Scotland, the UK Audit Commission and in New Zealand with the Office of the Auditor General.

Phil concluded:

“I have focussed my career in public audit and have been able to deliver audits around the world in many different sectors. The professional side of the statutory auditor role is vital but it’s how that role is delivered which makes all the difference.  I’m really pleased to be able to bring my skills and experience back to St Helena and make a further contribution to the good governance of the Island”.

SHG

18 July 2014

The Immigration Service would like to advise all persons travelling with children under the age of 18 to South Africa of a change in entry regulations.  Parents may be asked to show an Immigration Officer a full birth certificate (including both parents’ names) for all travelling children.  This applies even when both parents are travelling with their own children into South Africa and has been introduced in an attempt to reduce instances of child trafficking through South Africa.  This is not specific to St Helena – It applies to all children travelling through all South African sea and air ports.  The revised regulations apply both to South African citizens and to visitors.

These changes are expected to be implemented on Wednesday 1October 2014.  There is no change to Ascension Island or UK entry controls relating to children at this time.

For children born in St Helena, birth certificates can be obtained from the Customer Service Centre in Jamestown.  For those children born in the UK, the following address may be used to order a replacement birth certificate: https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/default.asp. Sufficient time should also be allowed ahead of your departure from St Helena to receive the certificate by post from the UK.  A one day despatch service is available.  Services vary in other countries.

Until Wednesday 1 October 2014, there is no country specific guidance for parents travelling with children to South Africa.  However, single parents, or a parent travelling alone with their child or those travelling abroad with children for whom they do not have parental responsibility, should generally obtain an affidavit or letter of authority from person(s) with parental responsibility prior to travel.  General UK guidance is available online at: https://www.gov.uk/permission-take-child-abroad.

Further information is available from the Immigration Office in Ogborn House, Jamestown – telephone no: (00290) 22236.

SHG

18 July 2014

 

Open to the Public from 9.30 am
Executive Council will meet next Tuesday morning, 22 July 2014, in the Council Chamber.
The meeting will be open to the public from 9.30am for the following Open Agenda items:

• Spear Guns Control Ordinance & Spear Guns Control Order
• A paper on the Definition of Disability

Executive Council Members are: Ian Rummery, Christine Scipio-O’Dean, Lawson Henry and Wilson Duncan. Councillor Brian Isaac is temporarily sitting on ExCo while Leslie Baldwin is away on overseas business.

SHG
18 July 2014

The consultation process for the proposed paid leave & sick pay for private sector individuals includes drop in sessions/advice and issuing of the employees survey questionnaires.

Human Rights Facilitator, Catherine Turner explained:

“The Human Rights Committee is delighted to assist with this consultation and we hope as many people as possible will visit the office.  But for those that cannot make it I am happy to take you through the questionnaire over the phone.  What is essential is that as many employees as possible, from the private sector participate in the consultation and your submissions will be kept in the strictest confidence.”  

Drop in sessions are as follows:

  • Wednesday 16 July – Friday 1 August  (9am – 5pm)
  • Saturday 19 July  (10am – 1pm)
  • Saturday 26 July  (10am – 1pm)
  • Tuesday 22 July (9am – 7pm)
  • Thursday 24 July (9am – 7pm)

The Human Rights Office is situated at the rear entrance to No3 Main Street.  Access can be gained from the back road in between St James Church and No 1 Main Street.

A Private Sector Open Access Event will also be held at the Jamestown Community Centre at Wednesday 23 July – 7pm.

SHG

17 July 2014

 

St Helena Executive Council - 16 July 2014
St Helena Executive Council – 16 July 2014

                                                                                                                   St Helena Island ‘Falsely Portrayed’

St Helena’s Executive Council (photo attached) – comprising Councillors Ian Rummery, Wilson Duncan, Christine Scipio-O’Dean, Lawson Henry and Brian Isaac – have reacted strongly to a story about St Helena in today’s Daily Mail regarding child protection and sexual offences. Council believes that the article paints a totally untrue picture of the Island, much of it based on hearsay.

Executive Council said:

“Today’s Daily Mail portrays a false and totally unbalanced image of St Helena, and has angered St Helenians, both on-Island and overseas. Those who live on St Helena recognise that there are issues around child protection and sexual crime, but also know that they live in a remarkably peaceful and safe community, a fact invariably noted by visitors to the Island.

“St Helena has the same issues as any other jurisdiction and has made strong progress over the past few years in dealing with and prosecuting sex offenders and improving child protection.

“The two reports cited by the Daily Mail in fact demonstrate a process of continual improvement. We investigate all sexual allegations and anyone found guilty faces the full force of the law. Numerous prosecutions of sex offenders over the past few years demonstrate this.

“The Council has every confidence in the Police force on the Island, which benefits from excellent leadership. We resent the insinuation in the newspaper that somehow the Police do not take sex offences seriously. Quite the opposite is the truth.

“Executive Councillors recognise the commitment of Legislative Council, St Helena Police, Social Services, the Governor, the FCO and all others involved, in taking child protection and sexual crime very seriously.  All of us are working hard to improve safeguarding on St Helena, and are very disappointed in the obvious bias in today’s newspaper story.

“And there has been no attempt to somehow cover up the findings of these reports. Their findings have been well publicised on the Island and Councillors have held public and media debates on these issues. To suggest that there is a reluctance to engage in issues around child safeguarding, somehow linked to a wish not to damage tourism, is absurd.

“Councillors and Government here welcome any objective and independent review of our current arrangements. Recommendations in both the reports cited have been implemented and are now well embedded on the Island. There is always more to do and we are not complacent, but the fact remains that child safeguarding provisions on St Helena are stronger now than they have ever been. The way cases are assembled, supervised and prosecuted has been reformed, as have training and professional standards. In addition, our various agencies here are now working closely together to review historic cases. It is a shame that this excellent work went unrecognised in the Daily Mail.”

Councillor and Children’s Champion Christine Scipio-O’Dean concluded:
“We are all alarmed by the inflammatory and biased reporting in the article published today. We have taken great steps on St Helena to protect our children and vulnerable people against abuse of any kind. We know that there are concerns, as there are in any community, but solid progress has been made in improving our safeguarding capabilities. We know there is still more to do, and we will continue to strive for further improvements.”

St Helena Executive Council
16 July 2014