Celebrated annually on the second Monday in March, Commonwealth Day is an opportunity for member nations of the Commonwealth to promote understanding on global issues, international cooperation and the work of Commonwealth organisations.
The theme for this year’s Commonwealth Day, falling on Monday 10 March 2014, is ‘Team Commonwealth’ which expresses the spirit of friendship and motivation towards the shared goals and values that exist between Commonwealth members.
This year, St Helena’s participation in Commonwealth Day will be led by Legislative Council Members. A group comprising Members of the Social and Community Development and Education Committees has been working together in preparation for the day’s activities.
Planned activities will focus on the theme of ‘Team Work’ and will involve Legislative Council Members and some 26 schoolchildren from the Primary Schools and Prince Andrew School. The group will be taken around the Island on various site visits which demonstrate teamwork. The sites will include the Spruce Projects at Harford and St Paul’s Primary Schools, work at the Horse Point Landfill Site and Millennium Forest, Bradley’s Motor Cross track, the Airport site at Prosperous Bay Plain, and SHAPE Recycling Plant at Donkey Plain.
Other activities will include the traditional Commonwealth Day Assembly at Prince Andrew School where HE Governor Capes will read Her Majesty the Queen’s Message to the Commonwealth. It is also planned for two video conferences to take place between the St Helena Youth Parliament and Welsh Youth Parliament, and for Councillors to discuss issues with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Delegation who visited the Island in August 2013.
Leader of the Commonwealth Day Working Group, Councillor Les Baldwin said:
“St Helena, as a member of the Commonwealth along with all other Commonwealth Nations, will inevitably share common goals and ambitions. It is important that we take part in Commonwealth Day celebrations, as this underlines our allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen and her endeavours to ensure high standards throughout the Commonwealth.”
Arriving on Island on 19 February on a three year contract was Trevor Graham, Environment and Natural Resources’ (ENRD) new Director.
Trevor’s main objective will be to ensure that ENRD actively contributes to the development of the economy on St Helena building on, and enriching, our natural and cultural heritage.
Trevor commented on his impressions of the Island and the Directorate:
“I have been hugely impressed by what I have seen so far and at the range of skills and commitment within the Directorate-as well as some of the results achieved with limited resources and sometimes in adverse conditions. I spent a day with the roads team and am really impressed with their work in challenging conditions.
“I have a short space of time to understand the challenges, build relationships and develop opportunities. I would like to think that St Helena can be well on the way to being a leading sustainable tourism destination and a global development benchmark for other Island nations.
“There are so many opportunities, so many creative people and such amazing natural and cultural assets that I’m certain that if we all work together and use our resources wisely, then we can achieve a great deal.”
Previously, Trevor has spent most of his career working with urban development, often in low income communities. He spent 15 years working to transform the City of Malmo in Sweden, from a city in social and economic crisis to a global leader in sustainable development. This work has enabled Trevor to work at a national and local level in places such as Europe, China and Namibia.
“St Helena is a Territory in a very different context, but many of the issues are similar to those I have worked with before and I look forward to using my experience – together with all sectors of the Island community – to help create a new development path in this exciting time of change.”
Biosecurity operations on the Island are often associated with the most highly visible activities – such as plant quarantine inspections on the wharf and veterinary checks on the RMS for animals arriving to the Island. However, many efforts are made behind the scenes to reduce threats to the Island’s economy, environment and health posed by pests and disease.
St Helena’s Biosecurity Policy (‘Biosecurity St Helena’) has been developed and is now out for public consultation. The document identifies the direction that Biosecurity intends to follow to help achieve sustainable development for St Helena. It forms part of a series of documents, which together will form the Biosecurity Development Framework.
The Biosecurity policy covers all activities aimed at policing new species and managing their impacts once on Island. It includes intentional, unintentional and illegal introductions. Activities focuses on pre-border, border and post-border activities designed to keep out new pests – central to SHG’s responsibility.
Head of Agriculture and Natural Resources Division, Darren Duncan commented:
“St Helena Government has established ‘Biosecurity St Helena’ to ensure it can effectively and strategically deliver these important national priorities. It provides a consistent approach and improved capacity to respond to animal, plant and aquatic pests and diseases.
“All members of the St Helena community have a responsibility to help protect the economic, environmental and social assets of the Island that we care about so much. Having our own Biosecurity policy for the first time means we have a guiding document to fulfil this vital obligation.”
It is important to hear the public’s views on the policy proposed by the Island’s biosecurity stakeholders. To obtain a hard copy of ‘Biosecurity St Helena’ please call Darren Duncan or Dr Jill Key (Pest Control and Biosecurity Officer) on tel: 24724. For an electronic copy please visit http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/publications/
The closing date for responses is 4pm on Friday 28 March 2014. Please let the Biosecurity policy team have your comments by submitting a completed consultation Questionnaire e-mailing it to Darren Duncan firstname.lastname@example.org or sending in a hardcopy to the ANRD Office at Scotland.
To encourage the public to give their views, all submissions with name and address details will be entered into a free prize draw. The first name drawn will receive a prize of £30.
The Elections Ordinance 2009 provides for Nominations to be delivered to the Returning Officer not later than noon on the last day appointed for the Nomination of Candidates. The closing date for nominations for the 2014 Bye-Election (to be held on Wednesday 12 March 2014) was today, Wednesday 26 February 2014.
Returning Officer, Gillian Francis, this afternoon announced the names of three Candidates who will be standing for the upcoming Bye-Election and a seat on Legislative Council.
The Candidates are as follows:
Corinda Sebastiana Stuart Essex: of “Villa Ajaccio”, Napoleon Street, Jamestown
Brenda Elaine Moors: of Alarm Forest
Lionel George Williams: of Brenville” Nr Half Tree Hollow, St Paul’s.
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 12 March 2014. Polling Stations will be at the Levelwood, Jamestown, Harford, Blue Hill, Sandy Bay, Half Tree Hollow, and Kingshurst Community Centres, and at Judges Lodge, Alarm Forest.
Further information, including the importance of voting and how and where to vote will be published as an insert in next week’s newspapers.
Executive Council met today, Tuesday 25February 2014, with one item on the Open Agenda – an information paper on the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, presented by the Attorney General. The UK Government has stated that it hopes that the Convention can be extended to all Overseas Territories by the end of 2014.
This is an important Convention which will help protect women against discrimination, particularly with regards to rights in the workplace and in other ways.
On the Closed Agenda, the Capital Programme Manager gave a presentation on the 2014-15 proposed capital programme. This was held in closed session as it includes budget estimates for various projects which have yet to go out to tender. ExCo had previously met with the full Legislative Council to discuss this programme and there was broad agreement on the main priorities.
Executive Council agreed the capital expenditure programme for 2014-15, with a caveat on the SHG reorganisation and relocations element – to be reviewed once further details are available.
Under Any Other Business, there was a discussion on some difficulties that have occasionally been experienced by some local investors. It was noted that the new Deputy Chief Executive for Economic Development has been tasked with responsibility for taking forward Enterprise St Helena as a one stop shop for all potential investors. Executive Council was pleased with the assurances given that this would address the various issues.
In closing the meeting, a tribute was paid to Shirley Anderson-Leo, the former Senior Nursing Officer on St Helena, who passed away last week, aged 61. In this tribute she was described as St Helena’s Florence Nightingale. Her work on St Helena, Ascension and internationally, and her dedication to those she nursed, was recognised appreciably by Executive Council.
Nominations are currently being invited for the Certificate and Badge of Honour Awards, 2014.
These awards are available for the Governor to award to public servants for loyal and valuable service worthy of recognition or, in the case of other persons, for their loyal and meritorious conduct that has provided exceptional benefit to the people of St Helena.
The Certificate and Badge of Honour awards will be presented at the Queen’s Birthday Garden Party at Plantation later this year. Up to six awards can be made at any one time.
Nominations are also invited for the Acts of Bravery Award, 2014.
Nominations should ideally be made to recognise Acts of Bravery that have taken place since the last call for nominations in June 2013.
Nomination forms for the 2014 awards are available from Mrs Carol George, Corporate Services Executive Manager, the Castle and should be completed and returned in a sealed envelope marked “CONFIDENTIAL” to the “Executive Secretary, Honours Committee” at the Castle by Monday, 17 March 2014.
For more information please contact the Corporate Services Executive Manager at the Castle on telephone number 22695 or e-mail:
On Tuesday 18 February, Year 9 students together with their parents and guardians were invited to an Options Evening at Prince Andrew School. The evening was well attended, with almost all students represented.
Two weeks prior to the evening, students had listened to detailed talks from their teachers on the various courses available to them. These included GCSE courses, vocational options, the new range of ICT courses and those GCSE courses provided through the Distance Learning programme.
This is an important stage in the educational development of students. The choices students make now will have an impact on their opportunities for continuing education through to employment.
Following a welcome by Headteacher Paul Starkie, Deputy Headteacher Barbara Osborne spoke about the importance of the options process and factors to consider when making their choices. Advisory Teacher for Science and Curriculum Manager Kerry Lawrence explained the process for students when making their choices and the timelines involved. Head of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Philip Francis then gave a brief outline of the course choices in ICT which, for this year, will be compulsory for all students in year 10. Philip explained the importance of ICT literacy for all students and the various courses that will provide access to recognised ICT qualifications for all.
Headteacher Paul drew the presentations to a close by informing students, parents and guardians of the various levels of support that will be available to them, from Head of Year 9 Nicky Plato and the tutorial teams who will be there to help and, of course, their subject teachers and the school leadership, who will guide and advise students through the options process over the coming weeks. The presentations were brought to a close with a short interview with Crystabelle Greentree, a student in Year 11, who talked to the audience about the challenges of transition from Year 9 to Year 10 and the start of GCSE courses. She spoke of the importance of being committed to study both at school and at home and the opportunities that studying hard can give you for your future.
It was then time for the students, parents and guardians, to view the displays and speak with the subject teachers leading the courses. This was perhaps the most important part of the evening. The feedback about the Options Evening was extremely positive from all.
Chief of Police, Trevor Botting, this afternoon stated:
‘It was wrongly reported this morning on Saint FM that the St Helena Sea Rescue Boat was out of service and unavailable for emergencies. This seems to be linked to an incident on Friday morning (21/02/14) when a yacht slipped its moorings in James’ Bay and was drifting out to sea.
‘The yacht in question was recovered by the WideAwake and returned without incident to its moorings. The Sea Rescue Team had deployed to support the WideAwake, but stood down when it was established that this was no longer necessary.
‘Saint FM suggested that the Sea Rescue Boat was not fit for purpose and that no consultation was carried out before its purchase. Again, this is incorrect, and was broadcast without checking the facts. There was wide consultation with a range of stakeholders before the purchase of the current craft, including with local fisherman, divers and harbour authorities. Such consultation is critical to ensuring that the most suitable craft is obtained to suit local sea conditions and the types of rescue the boat may have to carry out.
‘Similar work is currently being undertaken to establish what sea rescue craft may be required to enhance our capability prior to the opening of the Airport.
‘To conclude, let me be absolutely clear. Contrary to the entirely wrong and irresponsible report on Saint FM this morning, the Fire and Sea Rescue Service remains fully prepared to deploy in response to incidents in the waters around St Helena. The safety of Saints, visitors and those passing by remains our top priority.’
The public is reminded that they have just two days to submit candidate Nominations for the 12 March Bye-Election. The closing date for Nominations is this Wednesday, 26 February 2014, at 12 noon.
All Nominations should be delivered within this time to Returning Officer Mrs Gillian Francis at the Castle, Jamestown.
Do not leave it until the last minute to submit your Nomination – the forms will need to be checked by the Returning Officer and you should give yourself enough time to make any corrections if the form has not been properly completed.
Remember candidates nominated for Election must:
Be over the age of 21 and,
Be named on the Register of Electors dated 7 February 2014.
Nomination forms are available from any of the Assistant Registration Officers in the different districts around the Island, who can also provide assistance when completing forms. The names of Assistant Registration Officers were printed in the newspapers dated 13 and 14 February 2014.
Further details on nominating candidates can be obtained from Registration and Returning Officer Gillian Francis on telephone numbers 22470 or 22314, or via email: email@example.com