Kimberley Yon-Roberts
Kimberley Yon-Roberts

SHG Public Relations Officer, Kimberley Yon-Roberts (photo attached), departed the Island on the RMS yesterday, 11 January 2015, to undertake a six-week programme of work experience attached to UK Government and other Press Offices. Her work placements are funded under the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO’s) Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Fund, and Kimberley’s attachments will run from 26 January until 6 March.

In addition to UK Government attachments, Kimberley will also join the communications offices of major UK charity Sustrans, Sussex Police and PR Agency Keene Communications. Kimberley will also undertake professional masterclass training in film editing at Certitec in London.

These placements will equip Kimberley with front line experience of reactive and proactive media work, events management, digital and social media, internal communications, campaigning and lobbying, plus some policy work.

Chief Public Relations Officer, Ian Jones, commented:

“This is all about practical experience in a variety of UK communications settings for a talented Saint. Kimberley’s placements will be very much ‘hands-on’, giving her new skills and allowing her to witness international best-practice in the UK’s capital.

“This will also provide her with important UK contacts going forward and allow her to return to the Island with new skills and improved self-confidence.” 

Kimberley added:

“I am eager to begin my six week programme in the UK, which I’m sure will provide me with new knowledge that I can directly apply to my role on St Helena. 

“Participating in an emergency exercise in December gave me an insight into the pressure and skills needed to deal with a major incident crisis and I look forward to my placement with Sussex Police which will further enhance my understanding of how crisis communications are handled.

 “I would like to thank my colleagues in Public Relations and the FCO in advance for this opportunity and for supporting me in this training.”  

Following her attachments, and after a short period of leave in the UK, Kimberley will return to the Island on 6 April 2015.

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Fund was created as a result of the 2012 Overseas Territories (OT’s) White Paper, which supported in principle and in practical terms the exchange of expertise between public servants in the UK and OTs. 

SHG

12 January 2015

 

 

 

 

John Paterson and partner Janine
John Paterson and partner Janine

St Helena Government has appointed a new Senior Human Resources (HR) Development Officer, John Paterson (photo attached), to work within Corporate HR.John’s role will be to further develop and strengthen the HR section, supporting efficiency through effective performance management and embedding good HR practice across SHG. This will include further review of HR policies and procedures and assisting with the delivery of the SHG Work Force Plan.

Commenting on his new role, John said:

“I feel privileged and excited to have been appointed, and to be given the opportunity to positively contribute to the future of St Helena at this time of incredible transformation.

“I am most looking forward to working with colleagues across SHG to develop and strengthen the HR function, improve people management skills, and to develop local talent.”  

John has worked in the HR, employee relations, equalities and organisational development fields since 1985, working in senior HR positions in local and central Government in the UK for over 20 years.

John said:

“I am well versed in UK employment legislation and change management within the public sector. Besides my extensive employee relations experience, I will bring experience of HR transformation, modernisation and simplification, equalities and diversity, HR auditing and measurement, health and wellbeing.  

“I also bring sound commercial awareness, and well developed business planning skills which, combined with my people management skills, experience and knowledge, have enabled me to lead change and business improvements throughout my career.” 

John is originally from Scotland but moved to Cape Town in 2013. John’s contract is for two years and he will arrive here on Thursday 29 January 2015, his partner Janine will arrive in March.

SHG

12 January 2015

 

 

A new Director of Education, Mrs Shirley Wahler has been appointed and will take up her position in early March, following her predecessor Colin Moore on completion of his contract.

As the Director of Education, Shirley’s main responsibilities will be to continue to drive educational improvements across the directorate. She will also be required to develop further training opportunities, in line with the changing economic needs of the Island and through the recently introduced Apprenticeship scheme, and in collaboration with Enterprise St Helena through its ‘Up-skilling’ programme.

Shirley commented on her new role:

“I am both delighted and honoured to have been chosen to take on this important role at such a pivotal time in St Helena’s history. St Helena is an Island with a rich history and a very bright future and it is my hope that the experience I have gained from more than 28 years as an educator will enable me to be of service to this vibrant community.” 

Shirley brings to her new role a wealth of experience in the education field, having served as the Chief Education Officer for the Cayman Islands for the past seven and a half years – during which time there was unprecedented improvement in the education system.

Prior to taking on the role of Chief Education Officer, Shirley was Principal of Cayman Brac High School from 2000-2007. Over that period, she was awarded the Cayman Islands Certificate and Badge of Honour for services to education in honour of the dramatic improvement in examination results.

Shirley originally trained as a teacher of secondary Mathematics and English, and taught at secondary and tertiary levels in both the United States and the Cayman Islands.  She spent seven years (1991-1998) working at the Community College of the Cayman Islands as a lecturer in English and Mathematics and took on a range of leadership roles, including working in the team that developed and introduced the College’s first academic Degree programmes.

In addition to Bachelor’s Degrees in English and Secondary Education, Shirley also holds a MA Degree (with Distinction) in Education from Durham University.

Shirley, who hails from the Island of Cayman Brac, with a population of less than 2000 people, will move to St Helena with her husband, Stephen, a retired librarian.

Shirley concluded:

“I am most excited about getting to know St Helena and her people and in working together with the education team to build on the excellent progress already being made on the Island.”

SHG

9 January 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resignation from Legislative Council, Effective Today

Ian Rummery said today:

“It is with regret that I announce my resignation from Legislative Council and Executive Council with effect from today.  I am resigning to take up the post of Community Psychiatric Nurse in the Health & Social Services Directorate, from tomorrow.

“This was not an easy decision to make. However, the problems facing nurse recruitment on St Helena are well known. Despite advertising internationally it has not been possible to recruit a Community Psychiatric Nurse and with my qualifications and experience I feel drawn to return to nursing. 

“Being a member of Legislative Council and serving on Executive Council has been an amazing experience.  It has been a privilege to serve the community at this most exciting and challenging time in our history.

“I would like to thank my colleagues on Council and in St Helena Government for their support and I look forward to working closely with them in my new role.

“My resignation will, of course, mean that there will be a Bye-election soon. I would strongly encourage anyone who is interested to stand for election.  It is not about politics, it is about providing leadership to your community. If you are passionate about the Island’s future and have ideas on how the Island should move forward, then please stand for election.”

HE Governor Capes commented:

“I offer my personal thanks to Ian for his outstanding work in both Legislative and Executive Council and elsewhere within Government, and wish him every success in his new role.

“Despite losing Ian from Council, we are gaining him in a vital health role where he will bring his skills, experience and energy to bear, whilst continuing to work closely with his Government colleagues.”

SHG

8 January 2015

Councillor Lawson Henry at the JMC
Councillor Lawson Henry at the JMC

Councillor Lawson Henry recently returned to the Island having attended the annual Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) in London from 2-3 December 2014.

Councillor Henry represented St Helena, accompanied by HE Governor Capes and SHG UK Representative, Kedell Worboys MBE.

JMC Plenary Sessions focused on promoting economic development in the Overseas Territories as well as a wide range of topics – including security, policing and criminal justice, the environment, passports and border security, sustainable health services and pensions – all of which Councillor Henry found interesting and relevant to his role on St Helena.

During the two days of the JMC, Councillor Henry also attended the Annual General Meeting of the United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA). During this meeting, Ascension Island was accepted as a Member of UKOTA.

In meetings at the House of Commons Councillor Henry met with the Environment Audit Committee and with the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

This was the second time Councillor Henry has attended a JMC. He commented:

“There are real benefits to attending meetings such as the JMC where we can showcase St Helena, network with other Territory leaders, share problems and learn how other Territories deal with particular issues.  There are so many areas of common interest and meeting British Ministers and officials face-to-face is very constructive.” 

During this JMC, Councillor Henry noted that he gained particularly useful information from other OT leaders about their experience in the recruitment of British Doctors and also with the introduction of online visa systems.

Councillor Henry concluded:

JMC 2014
JMC 2014

“The JMC was an excellent experience. During the two meetings I had with FCO and DFID Ministers we covered a lot of issues – our achievements, post-Airport budgetary support, Airport certification, allocation of resources, infrastructure, hotel development, child protection, post-Airport access for Saints living on Ascension and the Falklands, rockfall protection and many other issues. This year Governor Capes attended both Ministerial bilateral meetings and was a great support to me in bringing his expertise to bear.”

Two photos are attached to this release.

SHG

6 January 2015

Saturday 27 December 2014 saw the Governor’s Cup Yacht race begin from Simon’s Town, South Africa – seeing competitors face a fast start, as heavy sea swells and winds enabled them to push forward, with winds gusting up to 40kts.  Sea conditions have changed considerably throughout the race.

Banjo
Banjo

17 yachts entered the race, and this morning (at approx 01.53) saw the 31ft trimaran Banjo once again win First Line Honours, breaking the yacht’s previous race record by sailing in after 9 days 13 hours and 36 seconds at sea.  Banjo was skippered this year by Kevin Webb, with crew Sarel van der Merwe and Brad Stemmett.

St Helenians Tommy Young and Kerry Furniss are doing well, with Tommy onboard the Vulcan and Kerry on the yacht Entheos, learning every day.

Julie George, a member of the organising committee on St Helena, said:

“The best part of the experience for me is bringing the yachts in at early hours and actually witnessing them cross the finishing line.

“It is a different format this year from previous years – as local businesses are more involved in planning events and activities for the competitors – ensuring that the private sector benefits from this great event.”

On Banjo’s tail and soon to be expected at St Helena are yachts Avanti 1, Black Cat and Strumpet.

A picture of Banjo is attached.

SHG

6 January 2015

 

Arriving on the RMS on Saturday, 10 January 2015, will be Mr Bryan Germany (photo attached) to take up the post of Science Advisory Teacher.

Based at Prince Andrew School, Bryan will teach classes and provide curriculum leadership for Chemistry lessons.

Director of Education and Employment, Colin Moore, commented:

“We are delighted to welcome Bryan and his family to St Helena. Bryan will play a leading role in Science – particularly the teaching of Chemistry – which is a specialist subject with unfortunately a shortage of qualified teachers.

“But it is vital that our young people possess good scientific skills to compete in an increasingly science-based global economy. I have no doubt that Bryan will help us take learning to new levels in St Helena.”

Bryan added:

“I am very pleased to have been given this opportunity to join Prince Andrew School. As a family we are looking forward to getting to know the people of St Helena.”

Bryan joins the Education and Employment Directorate having previously been a senior teacher at a large secondary school in the north of England.

SHG

5 January 2015

From Sean Burns, Acting Governor, St Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha:

‘I am pleased to announce the award of an MBE to Mr Chris Bates, in recognition of his services as United Kingdom Representative for Tristan da Cunha.

‘Chris took on this unpaid role six years ago and has since worked tirelessly on behalf of the community and in promoting the most remote inhabited island in the world. His work has included establishing excellent working relationships across UK Government, the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, raising the profile of Tristan and delivering tangible training and business initiatives which have benefited the Island and her people. He has also worked tirelessly to promote a variety of tourism and handicraft ventures that are now recognised in key markets around the world. 

‘Chris also played a major role in helping Tristan receive the go-ahead and funding from DFID for a new healthcare centre and in championing improvements to the existing harbour, and the construction of a new harbour.  In 2011, when the MS Oliva ran aground on Nightingale Island creating an environmental catastrophe, Chris highlighted the disaster through the media, conservation groups and political parties in the UK, to ensure the needs of the community were addressed.   Additionally, Chris has worked on conservation efforts to protect the unique flora and fauna of the islands, including two UNESO World Heritage Sites. This has led to UNESCO, RSPB and others working with the Tristan government on projects to safeguard and promote the Island’s unique habitats.

‘Having had the privilege of working with Chris myself for the three years when I was Administrator on Tristan, I am delighted that his efforts have been recognised and I am sure you will all join me in congratulating Chris on this well-deserved award.’

 

Sean Burns,

30 December 2014

Executive Council met at 2pm on Thursday 18 December to consider one item.  This was the application for full Development Permission for the proposed Solar Farm in Half Tree Hollow.  The Chief Planning Officer and the Planning Officer were in attendance.

Outline Development Permission and transfer of the land from SHG to Connect Saint Helena Ltd had previously been agreed by Executive Council in October 2014.

The application for full Development Permission had been heard by the Land Development & Control Authority (LDCA) on 17 December.  The LDCA had recommended to Executive Council that permission be granted, subject to certain conditions, one being that there is independent confirmation that the Solar Farm would pose no risk to human health through the generation of electro-magnetic fields.

There was also discussion on the plans for the relocation of the rifle range. The CEO of Connect Saint Helena Ltd and the Director of the Environment & Natural Resources Directorate were invited to the meeting to contribute to this discussion. While no final plan has yet been agreed for this relocation, the CEO of Connect confirmed that the company is committed to funding this.

With this reassurance given, Executive Council agreed that full Development Permission be granted for a 0.5 MWe Solar Farm on the current site of the Half Tree Hollow rifle range, subject to the various conditions.

Council also considered and approved an application to waive customs duties on assets donated to the Health Directorate from the World Health Organisation.

On behalf of Legislative Council, Executive Council would like to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

SHG

24 December 2014