Good afternoon.

Executive Council met this morning with just one item on the agenda related to the airport project. As mentioned in my EXCO report of 25 June this was to more fully consider a request for an amendment to the consent for the Airport Project, given by the Governor in Council in 2008.

To assist with this we were joined by Deon de Jager from Basil Read, colleagues from the Project Management Unit, and Janet Lawrence from the Access Office.

In 2008 it was proposed that two culverts should be constructed beneath Dry Gut fill to convey the runoff from the Dry Gut catchment and the south western portions of the airfield footprint. Basil Read proposed a design involving a single culvert coupled with an attenuation dam upstream of the culvert inlet.  This was adopted as the Reference Design within the airport contract.

During the design stage a number of alignment options were investigated for the culvert, but it was found that risks were associated with them all, relating primarily to the risk of culvert subsidence.  Basil Read therefore looked at alternatives.  This resulted in a proposal to construct an open drainage diversion channel through the ridge to the south of Dry Gut; this solution would replace the culvert and attenuation dam.

 

The open channel proposal has been thoroughly reviewed and confirmed as a viable design solution for dealing with drainage in Dry Gut. There are also a number of additional benefits associated with the proposal. For example, without the need to construct the attenuation dam, the impacts in that area of Dry Gut will be reduced.  The channel will also allow easier access for maintenance, thereby reducing long-term maintenance costs.

 

A further benefit will be that construction of the open channel will make available 600,000 cubic meters of material which can go directly into the Dry Gut fill.  This is a useful bonus as Basil Read has encountered higher quantities than expected of material that is unsuitable to be used as fill.

 

Noting that the open channel proposal has been through rigorous appraisal from technical, financial, economic, social and environmental perspectives, Executive Council fully agreed that the original consent for the Airport Project should be amended to enable the Open Channel proposal to proceed. And so ended our short meeting.

Unless any other urgent matter arises, this was probably the last meeting of Executive Council before the general election on 17 July.

 

As I’m sure most of you will know there are 20 candidates confirmed as standing for election. Now it is up to you, the voter, to make sure that on 17 July you are ready to cast your vote. Between now and polling day on 17 July you have plenty of time to listen to what the candidates have to say about how they would like to see St Helena develop.

Do take time to listen to the candidates when they are interviewed on the radio. If you can, do go along to their various public meetings where you can put your questions to them.  The 12 candidates that are successful on polling day will be making decisions about the future of your Island.  So it is absolutely in your interest that on 17 July you should turn out to vote for the candidates that you believe have the ability to provide the leadership that the Island needs to guide it to a successful future, to shape St Helena as you would like to see it.

For my part as Governor, I commit to you to work hard with the Councillors that you elect to move St Helena forward, while always ensuring that we do so guided by the Constitution, its partnership values, and the principles of good governance.

So come rain or shine on 17 July please do use your vote.

Thank you as always for listening and a very good afternoon to you all.

Mark Capes

Governor

5 July 2013

Members of the public who wish to view the Register of Electors or to collect Proxy forms, can also do so by contacting their district Assistant Registration Officers.

They are as follows:

 

  • Half Tree Hollow: Mrs Karen Yon, Mrs Michelle Yon, Mrs Connie Johnson

 

  • Jamestown: Mr Robert Essex, Mrs Alicia Thomas, Mrs Olive Williams, Mr Douglas Bennett

 

  • Alarm Forest: Miss Jane Augustus, Mrs Brenda Thomas

 

  • Longwood: Miss Paula Moyce, Miss Christina Henry

 

  • Levelwood: Mr Ronald Coleman, Mrs Pamela Joshua

 

  • Sandy Bay: Mr Alfred Isaac, Miss Anita Legg

 

  • Blue Hill: Mrs Elizabeth March, Mrs Georgina Young

 

  • St Paul’s: Miss Alfreda Yon, Mrs Jackie Moyce

Individuals who are not named in the Register of Electors, cannot vote on polling day.  The deadline for submission of Proxy forms is Monday 15 July at 10am.

SHG

8 July 2013

 

 

 

 

 St Helena is a small Island, eleven miles by seven in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean. Although small it is still possible to lose things. Just occasionally, however, they turn up again. The 3mm long leaf hopper ‘Chlorita’ edithae was described from eight specimens collected by Vernon Wollaston during his visit to the island in 1875 and it hasn’t been seen since – until now.

The Rare Endemic Leaf Hopper Chlorita Edithae on a Whitewood Leaf - photo by Lourens Malan
The Rare Endemic Leaf Hopper Chlorita Edithae on a Whitewood Leaf – photo by Lourens Malan

On Bank Holiday 1 April 2013, while exploring tiny fragments of remaining natural vegetation above Wranghams on the high central ridge of the Island, Lourens Malan [Terrestrial Conservation Officer in the Environment Management Division (EMD) of the St Helena Government] noticed a few brightly-coloured leaf hoppers. Quickly grabbing his camera he managed to get several photographs of them. He later showed these to David Pryce (Invertebrate Conservation Co-ordinator at the St Helena National Trust) who nearly fell off his chair – it hadn’t been seen for 137 years.

This major discovery is all the more important as the hopper was found on the endangered endemic Whitewood Tree (Petrobium arboreum) of which there were only 80 surviving in 1995. Active conservation work on the Island has helped safeguard this species for the immediate future.

Most of the new stock has been grown from seedlings collected from the wild and grown on in more accessible areas where they could be tended for and monitored. As the plants collected were small it is less likely that they will have much of their associated fauna on them. Many of these insects have very poor dispersal abilities, further restricting their ability to form new colonies. Discoveries like this mean that steps can be taken to conserve these species as well as their plant hosts.

The isolated island of three Whitewood Trees where the hopper was found is in a sea of invasive New Zealand Flax (Phormium tenax). This shows how rare invertebrates can persist for long periods in very low populations. It is hoped that future work by the National Trust and the Environment Management Division will identify more of these isolated pockets. Their health will be assessed by looking at the diversity of their invertebrate populations and hopefully more discoveries (and rediscoveries) will be made.

Tara Pelembe, Head of the Environment Management Division said:

“We are very excited about this find. Our rarest plants and animals exist in tiny pockets of native habitats. These unique habitats need to be safeguarded. EMD is working with a range of partners and stakeholders to ‘effectively manage the Island’s environment’ – which is a national goal. We are very pleased to be working in partnership with the National Trust and Buglife on a much-needed Darwin invertebrate project which will help us to better understand the invertebrate species and habitats that exist on this unique Island.”

 

Notes to Editors:

For more information or an interview contact Vicky Kindemba: vicky.kindemba@buglife.org.uk or telephone (+ 44) 07880 316032 

Buglife The Invertebrate Conservation Trust is the only charity in Europe devoted to the conservation of all invertebrates, and is actively working to save Britain’s rarest bugs, bees, butterflies, ants, worms, beetles and many more fascinating invertebrates. Further information is available on Buglife’s website at www.buglife.org.uk.  Follow us on Twitter @buzz_dont_tweet and ‘Like us’ on Facebook: Buglife – The Invertebrate Conservation Trust

Darwin Initiative

The Darwin Initiative is funded by the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). The Initiative assists countries that are rich in biodiversity but poor in financial resources to meet their objectives under one or more of the three major biodiversity Conventions – the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES); and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Anima

ls (CMS) – through the funding of collaborative projects which draw on UK biodiversity expertise. The Darwin Initiative has invested £88,439,752 in 781 projects in 155 countries since 1992.

For media enquiries about the Darwin Initiative, please contact Laura Hunter on 0207 238 5334 or email laura.hunter@defra.gsi.gov.uk

St Helena Government

The St Helena Government’s Environmental Management Division was established in March 2013.  Its mission is to ‘be the focus of environmental management for the St Helena Government through the creation and implementation of policy and legislation, and the provision of advice underpinned by a clear, transparent evidence-base – supported by systematic monitoring, evaluation, enforcement and a comprehensive communications strategy’.

For media enquiries about SHG’s Environmental Management Division, please contact Tara Pelembe, Head of Division at: tara-pelembe@enrd.gov.sh or on + (290) 2270.

St Helena National Trust

The St Helena National Trust is responsible for the protection, enhancement and promotion of St Helena’s unique environmental and cultural heritage. The Trust’s activities include restoration, conservation and education.

For media enquiries about the St Helena National Trust, please call (+290) 2190 or contact director@shnt.org.uk.   Information about the Trust and its work can be found at www.nationaltrust.org.sh

Centre for Ecology and Hydrology

The Centre for Ecology & Hydrology is the UK’s Centre of Excellence for integrated research in terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems and their interaction with the atmosphere.

For media enquiries about Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, please contact Dr Barnaby Smith, Media Relations Manager, on tel.(UK): 01491 692439, mobile 07920 295384 or email bpgs@ceh.ac.uk  

SHG

2 July 2013

 

 

 

Returning Officer, Gillian Francis, this afternoon announced the names of 20 Candidates who will be standing for this year’s General Election. This year, with a single constituency, the electorate will have the opportunity to vote for up to 12 Councillors to represent the whole Island.

The candidates are as follows:

Leslie Paul Baldwin: of Half Tree Hollow

Audrey Mavis Constantine: of Maldivia, Jamestown

Nigel Dollery: of “Pleasant View Cottage”, New Ground, St Pauls

Wilson Charles Duncan: of Old Millsite, Nr Harford Community Centre, Longwood

Gavin George Ellick: of New Ground, St Pauls

Cyril Robert George: of “Clifton Cottage”, Sapper Way, St Pauls

Stedson Robert George: of “Utopia”, Two Gun Saddle, Alarm Forest

Anthony Arthur Green: of “Oltonia”, Knollcombes, St Pauls

Cyril Keith Gunnell: of “Cashem House”, Napoleon Street, Jamestown

Earl Hilton Henry: of Thompson’s Hill, St Pauls

Lawson Arthur Henry: of Sea View, Alarm Forest

Brian William Isaac: of “Elizium”, Longwood Road, Longwood

Brenda Elaine Moors: of Alarm Forest

Bernice Alicia Olsson: of “Association Hall”, Main Street, Jamestown

Ian Sebastian Rummery: of Alarm Forest

Christine Lilian Scipio-O’Dean: of Black Field, Longwood

Derek Franklin Thomas: of Cow Path, Half Tree Hollow

Lionel George Williams: of “Brenville”, Nr Half Tree Hollow, St Pauls

Raymond Kenneth Williams: of “Saddle Cottage”, Nr Horse Pasture, Blue Hill

Mervyn Robert Yon: of “High View Cottage”, Nr Red Hill, St Pauls

The full Declaration, including the names of Sponsors, will be Gazetted as soon as possible and hard copies will be placed at the usual outlets and published on the SHG website.

Polling Day is set for Wednesday 17 July 2013. Details on how and where to vote will be set out in an insert in both local newspapers this week.

SHG
2 July 2013

Sarah Troman - Capital Programme Manager
Sarah Troman – Capital Programme Manager

On Thursday 27 June, St Helena’s first Capital Programme Manager, Sarah Troman, arrived on Island.

Sarah will now oversee the infrastructure programme, working with the Environment and Natural Resources Directorate, with project managers of various programmes, plus external funders including DFID and the European Union.

Before taking up this role, Sarah worked on urban regeneration projects through her work in various local authorities and the urban regeneration company, Derby Cityscape.

In her new role she will oversee all major projects – there are about thirty, most of which are new in 2013-14, including the hospital extension and the relocation of the prison along with ongoing roads, electricity, and marine infrastructure projects. Sarah said: “I hope to be able to work with funders to make sure projects are delivered on time and on budget, to provide improved facilities and infrastructure for St Helena”.

Sarah says that the Island was not as she had imagined it, and described it as: “Both diverse and beautiful”. She explained that her favourite feature is that there is a view of the sea everywhere she travels, something she has not been used to in the UK. So far she has walked to Flagstaff with her husband and daughter but hopes to do more walking, along with experiencing more of what St Helena has to offer during her time on the Island.

SHG
2 July 2013

Stored Water Levels in Redhill Zone Sufficient for 14 Days

The continued dry weather on St Helena has meant that the water situation in affected areas remains critical.

Due to the irregular rainfall we are currently experiencing, our reservoirs are filling slower than required and, although stored water levels at Redhill have slightly extended to around 14 days of supply, water levels remain exceptionally low. Only the piping of additional water to Redhill is maintaining our volumes.

Pumping from Hutts Gate, via Grapevine Gut, to Scotts Mill reservoir continues this week – supplying roughly a day’s consumption (at the reduced level) for each days pumping. Over the weekend 900 cubic metres of water was pumped from the Longwood area to Redhill.

The supply from Grapevine Gut is now very low and pumping is being managed to balance the demand on the Hutts Gate reservoir for both the Hutts Gate and Longwood supply area and the Redhill zone. Preparatory work, including vegetation clearance, to pump water from Levelwood into the Hutts Gate system has also started – in advance of pipe and pump deliveries on the RMS.

Residents served by the Redhill distribution plant are once again thanked for their continued reduced consumption of around 280 cubic metres per day and are urged to continue to lower their consumption. The Island as a whole is reminded that the Hosepipe Ban is still in force – every effort to reduce water consumption must continue in order to stretch the water supplies until we receive some substantial rainfall.

Bowsering and pumping from reliable sources clearly has implications for the totality of St Helena’s water supplies. Water is ultimately a finite resource on this Island and we thank all districts for reducing their water consumption.

Connect Saint Helena Ltd continues to treat all leaks and burst pipes as a priority.

Please continue to reduce your water consumption and use only for essential domestic needs for the foreseeable future.

SHG
2 July 2013

Next Head Of Governor's Office
Sean Burns – Next Head Of Governor’s Office

Sean Burns To Be Next Head Of Governor’s Office

Mr Sean Burns, presently serving as the Administrator on Tristan da Cunha, has been appointed as the next Head of the Governor’s Office and will take up the position in January 2014. The role has been upgraded and will carry additional responsibilities, including that of acting as Acting Governor in the Governor’s absence, a change that follows the model used in the Falklands.

Governor Capes said:

‘I have worked with Sean in his current role over the past 18 months and have been impressed by his excellent work on Tristan da Cunha. He will bring to the Governor’s Office valuable skills and experience to help manage an increasing workload at this exciting period in St Helena’s history. He will replace my colleague Clive McGill from whom he will inherit a modernised and well-functioning office with fine support provided by Sandra Sim, Manager of the Governor’s Office and from Linda Glanville, PA to the Governor.’

Sean, who will be accompanied by his wife Marina, has served as the Administrator on Tristan for the last three years. Commenting on his new posting, Sean said:

‘I am delighted to have been appointed Head of the Governor’s Office from January 2014. Marina and I are both really looking forward to working and living on St Helena and getting to know the islanders and the Island. Although we have never visited, I have learned something about St Helena from my time as the Administrator on Tristan since 2010, and the exciting changes that are taking place.

‘I have also yet to visit Ascension Island but I hope to make an early visit to meet with the Administrator and Councillors there.

‘I joined the FCO in 1978 and have done a range of jobs, including corporate services, management, consular, immigration, project management and HR. My other postings have included Tanzania, Antigua, Bangladesh, Senegal, Kenya and South Korea as well as peiods back in London.

‘My wife Marina is a qualified TEFL teacher and has spent the last 17 years teaching English and other subjects, mainly for the British Council. We have two children, Damian (21) and Kelly (23) who both hope to visit us at some point in the posting.’

SHG
28 June 2013

Following a mid-term review of the trial bus service, a revised timetable was introduced on 22 May 2013 and has now been in operation for just over a month.

Operated by Joshua’s Taxis, the trial bus service replaces the previous A, B and C routes and the Rupert’s run. The introduction of the revised timetable has seen new routes and times, including an additional late night departure from Donny’s at the weekend and a quicker home-to-duty journey between Longwood and Jamestown. The removal of the least used journeys has also brought a more efficient and convenient service for the majority of users.

Speaking with Jeffrey Joshua, who manages Joshua’s Taxi Services he said:

“The public have received the trial service and the revised timetable very positively. We haven’t had any complaints so far and numbers have also picked up, especially with the current school holidays. Overall I would say everything is going well to enable this system to become a permanent fixture in the future.”

Monitoring of the trial service and revised timetable to date has resulted in the discontinuation of less frequently used routes, such as the cross country and the Rupert’s routes.

The trial service will be extended until the end of August 2013 to enable the effects of the revised timetable to be fully monitored and assessed. This will ensure that when a permanent service is introduced, it provides the best possible service for its passengers.

SHG
26 June 2013

Good afternoon,

A short EXCO today that started at 9.30 and finished at 11 o’clock.

We began with a brief status report on the airport project for which we were joined by Janet Lawrence, Airport Director. Many of you will be aware from the regular airport updates that Basil Read are considering design changes in Dry Gut and are currently working on a proposal to develop an open channel, instead of the culvert and attenuation dam. Executive Council was given an update on the status of the proposed design variation and the process that is being followed. There will be a more full discussion of the proposal at a meeting of Executive Council scheduled for next week.

Moving to our next item, the Attorney General presented a paper inviting EXCO to confirm that the number of Committees should be reduced from 8 to 5. The principle having been agreed some time ago, EXCO had no difficulty in approving the recommendation. This clears the way for an orderly transition when the current Committees stand down at the first meeting of Legislative Council after the General Election. EXCO accepted that the new Legislative Council may wish to ‘fine tune’ the titles and scope of one or more of the five Committees.

Our final paper today sought approval to add Italy to the list of countries specified by Regulations under the Medical Practitioners Ordinance. This was to enable a specialist gynaecologist from Italy, due to arrive here next month, to practice medicine on St Helena. Council approved this straightforward request.

And with that we closed our meeting. I am very pleased to be back on St Helena after my visit to the UK. I have been following with much interest the media interviews of many of those standing for election at the General Election next month. One of the advantages of providing a longer run up to the election is that it allows time for the media and the public to thoroughly explore with candidates how they view some of the important challenges ahead. It has also allowed good time for those standing for election to formulate their opinions and to communicate them properly to the electorate.

For anyone still considering whether or not to stand it’s time to make up your mind as the nominations have to be submitted by noon on Tuesday next week, 2 July.

It’s not a difficult process and the Returning Officer, Mrs Gilly Francis, or one of her team, would be pleased to offer guidance where it is needed. I believe that as of today there are about 16 people who have indicated that they will be standing for election, some of whom have already submitted their nominations.

But whether you are standing for election or not, please do make the effort to turn out to use your vote on polling day, 17 July. This year we will have just one constituency and that means that you will be able to vote for up to 12 candidates. It’s your time to choose who you trust to best represent you and to guide St Helena forward at this time of considerable change. If you don’t vote you lose your opportunity to secure the sort of leadership that you would like to have shaping St Helena’s future. So please do vote on 17 July. Put it in your diary and, rain or shine, vote on 17 July.

Thank you for listening and a very good afternoon to you all.

Mark Capes
Governor
25 June 2013

St Helena Government is pleased to announce the launch of its new website, which has gone live at the same address: www.sainthelena.gov.sh

This website replaces the previous one and is designed to be more user friendly and visual than its predecessor, featuring a themed deep blue colour from the St Helena Crest and many more striking images of the Island.

The site will appeal to users on and off Island with an interest in St Helena affairs, her people, the Airport, the Island’s wonderful environment and rich heritage – with subject areas such as News, About Us, Visitors, Investors and Saints Overseas all more easily accessible from the Home Page.

Ian Jones, Chief Public Relations Officer said:

“We wanted a better, more visual site with a clearer layout and more intuitive navigation – so users can find their way around quickly. Despite a very limited budget we have worked with local company Lupa Designs to achieve this. We will now work to improve this website and add new material and services, but it’s already a much better platform.”

During this initial trial period we are still making additions and amendments to the site (for example, some services, such as video streaming will come online shortly). If any user sees a factual error, please contact:

Kerisha Stevens – publicrelationsofficer1@sainthelena.gov.sh or

Kimberley Yon-Roberts – publicrelationsofficer2@sainthelena.gov.sh or

SHG
25 June 2013