In 1998, the inspection of fresh produce arriving on St Helena was formalised.  The Biosecurity Team job is to protect the Island from new invasive species that can have a disastrous effect on St Helena’s crops and agriculture – and perhaps more importantly, on St Helena’s unique species.  

Dr Jill Key, Pest Control and Biosecurity Officer said:

“The fruits and vegetables that are imported onto St Helena come in at two different temperatures, enabling the products to store better.  Once the containers arrive, we open the boxes and inspect a sample of each type of vegetable and fruit.”

Some produce are lower risk than others.  Carrots, for example, are medium, as opposed to high risk peaches, plums and clementines which have the potential to carry varied species of fruit fly.  Potatoes are also high risk to import as they can contain diseases picked up in South Africa.

Jill said that all fresh produce that arrives from South Africa must carry a Perishable Products Export Control Board Certificate (PPECB), which means products come passed for export with the same standards as used for Britain and Japan.  Crops are grown by certified farmers who abide by a strict regime of high levels of inspection for diseases.

Once samples have been collected from the refrigerated containers (situated near the customs buildings) they are taken to the inspection room where every single piece of fruit or vegetable in the sample is checked. 

If a quarantine pest is found, the inspection team are faced with two options – to destroy the entire lot of that fruit or vegetable, or go through every single item in the lot.  This is the preferred option. However, in instances where the pest cannot be seen and a 100% inspection therefore can’t be done, all of the lot has to be destroyed, at the risk and cost of the retailer.  

With the winter season produce – mostly medium risk – it takes us about 5 hours to complete the inspection, once the produce is landed.  The product is then available to retailers.

Jill commented:

“Retailers who import products to the Island all have import licenses.  It is extremely important to have all the relevant documentation in order to verify fresh products imported and to enable us to stop new pests and diseases from coming in.”

A quarantine pest was found in the last voyage.  The team found a caterpillar in a sample of the sweetcorn, tentatively identified as the Spotted Stemborer which, isn’t something found on Island.

Jill explained:

“We then did a 100% inspection of the sweetcorn and found a total of 4 cobs infested. The caterpillars have been taken to the biocontrol unit to breed up into adults for identification.”

Jill explained that due to the nature of the Island – although levels of invasive species are quite low – there is a high risk to the unique biodiversity on St Helena.  The Biosecurity and Pest Control team plays a vital role in safeguarding St Helena’s environment.

SHG

18 June 2013

 

 

Entries are invited from the ages of 10 and upwards for a national photography competition.  The photos submitted must be images taken of St Helena.  There are no set categories, but all images of people, places, wildlife and scenery should seek to capture the atmosphere, beauty and culture of the Island.  There are 3 age categories (see below).

Images submitted for judging (a maximum of 5 photos per entry) must be on CDs placed in an envelope with a description of the pictures, date taken, photographer’s name, age and contact details – addressed to Ian Jones, Chief Public Relations Officer, 1 Main Street.  Entries will be judged by a panel of St Helena residents.

The closing date for entries is Wednesday 31 July 2013, 4pm.

Prizes will be awarded by HE The Governor for first (£150), second (£75) and third place (£50) in each of the age categories of 10-15 yrs, 16-21 yrs and 22 and over.  Winning entries are likely to receive substantial publicity as well as being displayed on the St Helena Government Website. 

SHG

18 June 2013

St Helena, one of the remotest jurisdictions in the world, is introducing ASYCUDA (Automated System for Customs Data).

This web based system will improve efficiency and speed in the acceptance and clearance of cargo, tax and other paper transactions. It also provides for the clearance of goods and for payment online. The system allows for a one-stop gateway for HM Customs and Revenue business, providing Government with trade figures and statistics in real time which is invaluable for budgeting and planning.

The development of the ASYCUDA system on St Helena signals the continuing improvement of HM Customs and Revenue’s service to the trade, public and Government, all of which will assist the Island in its future development.

Peter Henderson, Director General of HM Customs and Revenue on St Helena said:

“The ASYCUDA system will allow for simplified procedures that are clearly understood and transparent, while providing the level of service the community requires and deserves in the modern world. ASYCUDA will continue to develop in the future and we can look forward to further innovations.”

He added:

“While accepting electronic systems can improve our lives, we should never forget that there is an important human element in operating them and we are fortunate to have dedicated and professional staff, plus assistance from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).”

Reaching this point has taken a lot of hard work and dedication but now that the planning and procurement phases have been completed, St Helena staff – Juliette O’Dean, Customs Administrative Officer and Jeremy Roberts, Head of Information Technology – are now undergoing training by UNCTAD in Geneva to ensure the system can be installed and rolled out effectively on the Island.

The Introduction of the ASYCUDA system signifies a further step in the provision of E-government and ‘green’ government, and is important to the modernisation of the Island and its growing economy.

 Notes for Editors:

At present St Helena is only accessible by sea on the Royal Mail Ship St Helena (RMS), which runs from Cape Town, South Africa, and Ascension Island. This however is changing with the building of an airport on the Island, scheduled to open in early 2016.

St Helena, one of the most isolated Islands in the world, was for centuries an important stopover for ships sailing to Asia and South Africa. The Island was also used as a place of exile, most notably for Napoleon, Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo (King of the Zulus) and more than 5,000 Boer prisoners.

St Helena is Britain’s second oldest remaining Overseas Territory. 

HM Customs and Revenue

SHG

18 June 2013

 

Stored Water Levels in Redhill Zone Sufficient for 10 Days

All St Helena Residents Urged to Continue Saving Water The water shortage on St Helena, though still severe and serious, has eased slightly with this week’s bowsering efforts and the continued reduced level of consumption in the Redhill distribution area.

Stored water levels at Redhill remain exceptionally low, but have extended slightly to around 10 days of supply. The Contingency Planning Group (CPG) again thanks the public for responding to the water problem. We are seeing reduced usage from the Redhill treatment plant, but also in Jamestown and Levelwood. This is very welcome. Consumption in the affected areas has settled at around 250 cubic metres per day (down from the normal 400), setting an example to the rest of the Island. But, with the Bank Holiday weekend approaching we must all continue our efforts to conserve this valuable resource.

Please continue to reduce your water consumption and use for essential domestic needs for the foreseeable future. This message goes out to the Island as a whole, as 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. The bowsering teams will take a break this weekend in order to allow the replenishment of their raw water sources. An additional bowser from Ascension Island will be arriving on 20 June.

A more technical media briefing will take place this afternoon, as well as the regular water overview. This will explain what the CPG is doing to secure supplies for the Redhill zone in the medium term. All of this is aimed at securing reliable and sustainable sources for residents, with July and August in mind. In the longer term, some permanent infrastructure changes on St Helena as a whole are likely.

Notes to Editors: A leaflet – Your Top Ten Tips to Saving Water – is now available in local shops, and in this week’s newspapers. Please keep a copy to hand. The leaflet reminds you that you can save water in numerous ways, including: • Not flushing the toilet on every occasion • Using washing up water on the garden or vegetable patch • Using the washing machine sparingly and only when full • Taking a short shower instead of a bath – you can save up to 90 gallons of water a week • Turning the tap off while brushing teeth – this could save 25 gallons of water a month • Using a bowl when washing vegetables or fruit instead of using running water • Checking your taps for leaks and fixing them – a small drip can amount to 20 gallons a day.

SHG

14 June 2013

WATER SHORTAGE ON ST HELENA REMAINS SERIOUS

Still Just Over One Week’s Stored Water in Redhill Zone

All Residents Urged to Continue Saving Water

The water shortage on St Helena remains severe, with stored water levels at Redhill still exceptionally low. Meanwhile, the lack of significant rainfall is forecast to continue.

Consumption in the affected areas has settled at around 250 cubic metres per day (down from the normal 400), and we thank residents in the Redhill distribution zone for their efforts in reducing consumption. This is recognised and significant. But we must continue stretching this valuable resource in the Redhill zone and across the Island.

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

This message goes out to the Island as a whole, as 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 the Island.

The Contingency Planning Group (CPG) is examining all water sources on St Helena and doing everything possible to extend planned supplies to Redhill. Piped and pumped solutions are now part of the picture, as well as secure bowsering. An additional bowser from Ascension Island will be arriving on 20 June. A technical plan, including some procurement of equipment, is also in place – and the media is invited to a briefing on this and the overall picture on Friday 14 June at 2pm, in the Council Chamber.

All of this is aimed at securing reliable and sustainable sources for Redhill, with July and August in mind. In the longer term, some permanent infrastructure changes on St Helena as a whole are likely.

Bearing in mind the ultimately finite nature of domestic water on the Island – and the current weather – we continue to urge all residents to please use less of this precious resource.

Notes to Editors:

A leaflet – Your Top Ten Tips to Saving Water – is now available in local shops, and in this week’s newspapers. Please pick up a copy. The leaflet reminds you that you can save water in numerous ways, including:

• Not flushing the toilet on every occasion
• Using washing up water on the garden or vegetable patch
• Using the washing machine sparingly and only when full
• Taking a short shower instead of a bath – you can save up to 90 gallons of water a week
• Turning the tap off while brushing teeth – this could save 25 gallons of water a month
• Using a bowl when washing vegetables or fruit instead of using running water
• Checking your taps for leaks and fixing them – a small drip can amount to 20 gallons a day.

SHG
12 June 2013

WATER QUALITY IN REDHILL DISTRIBUTION AREA

Because we are still experiencing problems supplying water to the Redhill Distribution area, the water quality cannot be guaranteed during this period. It is a wise precaution to advise all consumers to boil water intended for drinking and cooking until further notice. Please note that sterilisation tablets should not be used in this area because we are still adding chlorine at the Treatment Works. Untreated water zones should still be boiling or adding sterilisation tablets [as per previous advice].

The affected area includes:

• Half Tree Hollow
• Cowpath
• Ladder Hill
• Redhill
• Sapper Way
• New Ground
• Clay Gut
• Pounceys
• Kunjie Field
• Scotland
• Plantation
• Cleughs Plain
• Rosemary Plain
• Francis Plain
• Crack Plain
• Guinea Grass

Just to repeat, this is a precautionary measure.

On behalf of Connect Saint Helena Ltd
12 June 2013

WATER QUALITY IN REDHILL DISTRIBUTION AREA

Because we are still experiencing problems supplying water to the Redhill Distribution area, the water quality cannot be guaranteed during this period. It is a wise precaution to advise all consumers to boil water intended for drinking and cooking until further notice. Please note that sterilisation tablets should not be used in this area because we are still adding chlorine at the Treatment Works. Untreated water zones should still be boiling or adding sterilisation tablets [as per previous advice].

The affected area includes:

• Half Tree Hollow
• Cowpath
• Ladder Hill
• Redhill
• Sapper Way
• New Ground
• Clay Gut
• Pounceys
• Kunjie Field
• Scotland
• Plantation
• Cleughs Plain
• Rosemary Plain
• Francis Plain
• Crack Plain
• Guinea Grass

Just to repeat, this is a precautionary measure.

On behalf of Connect Saint Helena Ltd
12 June 2013

WATER SHORTAGE ON ST HELENA REMAINS SERIOUS

Still Just Over One Week’s Stored Water in Redhill Zone

All Residents Urged to Continue Saving Water

The water shortage on St Helena remains severe, with stored water levels at Redhill still exceptionally low. Meanwhile, the lack of significant rainfall is forecast to continue.

Consumption in the affected areas has settled at around 250 cubic metres per day (down from the normal 400), and we thank residents in the Redhill distribution zone for their efforts in reducing consumption. This is recognised and significant. But we must continue stretching this valuable resource in the Redhill zone and across the Island.

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

This message goes out to the Island as a whole, as 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 the Island.

The Contingency Planning Group (CPG) is examining all water sources on St Helena and doing everything possible to extend planned supplies to Redhill. Piped and pumped solutions are now part of the picture, as well as secure bowsering. An additional bowser from Ascension Island will be arriving on 20 June. A technical plan, including some procurement of equipment, is also in place – and the media is invited to a briefing on this and the overall picture on Friday 14 June at 2pm, in the Council Chamber.

All of this is aimed at securing reliable and sustainable sources for Redhill, with July and August in mind. In the longer term, some permanent infrastructure changes on St Helena as a whole are likely.

Bearing in mind the ultimately finite nature of domestic water on the Island – and the current weather – we continue to urge all residents to please use less of this precious resource.

Notes to Editors:

A leaflet – Your Top Ten Tips to Saving Water – is now available in local shops, and in this week’s newspapers. Please pick up a copy. The leaflet reminds you that you can save water in numerous ways, including:

• Not flushing the toilet on every occasion
• Using washing up water on the garden or vegetable patch
• Using the washing machine sparingly and only when full
• Taking a short shower instead of a bath – you can save up to 90 gallons of water a week
• Turning the tap off while brushing teeth – this could save 25 gallons of water a month
• Using a bowl when washing vegetables or fruit instead of using running water
• Checking your taps for leaks and fixing them – a small drip can amount to 20 gallons a day.

SHG
12 June 2013

STATE OF ENVIRONMENT REPORT PUBLISHED

St Helena’s environment, its ecosystems, biodiversity and heritage are vulnerable to the choices and actions taken on-Island. A well managed environment is vital to the Island’s economic viability – agriculture, fishing and tourism all rely heavily on St Helena’s healthy and prosperous environment.

St Helena’s first ever State of the Environment Report provides a picture of the environment of St Helena over the 2012/13 financial year. The report examines those areas of the environment that are already being closely measured and monitored on St Helena.

Susan O’Bey, Acting Chief Secretary said:

“St Helena is going through a significant period of change and it is important that we are able to sensibly manage this. The State of Environment report provides us with a very good snapshot of the current state of our environment, and will give us a better understanding of the areas we need to address as part of our overall management plan.”

The report is set to be produced on an annual basis and it is anticipated that, as the years pass, this report will allow Environmental Management to see trends in environmental data and fill information gaps – allowing the division to effectively target efforts to manage St Helena’s unique environment.

Tara Pelembe, Director of Environmental Management, said:

“One of St Helena’s 3 National Goals is effective management of the environment. To do this, we need to monitor and report on what is happening in our environment, and develop and adapt our actions and reactions to measured changes. St Helena’s first State of the Environment Report is a step towards an evidence-based approach.”

Tara commented that it was very rewarding to have been able to produce the report with a wide range of partners and stakeholders. Tara highlighted the role of Shayla Ellick and Glen Westmore, who were instrumental in ensuring that the report was ready for publication.

The State of Environment Report is available on the St Helena Government Website, www.sainthelena.gov.sh, and also attached with this press release.

SHG
10 June 2013

A Single Constituency

For previous elections on St Helena, the Island has been divided into two or more (eight until 2009) separate Constituencies, with a separate election held in each. This year, it will be different.

There will be just one election on Wednesday 17 July, to elect 12 Councillors to represent the whole Island. This means that the candidates’ names will all appear on one Ballot Paper.

Each voter will be able to select up to 12 candidates. But you do not have to use all 12 votes – you can just select your one favorite, or two or three – in fact any number up to 12. If you more than 12, the Ballot Paper will be invalid, and none of your votes will be counted.

More information about how to vote will be published after Nominations have closed, on Tuesday 2 July.