Currently visiting the Island are Dr Alistair Dove, Director of Research and Conservation at the Georgia Aquarium, USA, and Rafael de la Parra, Executive Director, Ch’ooj Ajauil AC (The Blue Realm Project), Mexico.

Alistair and Rafael arrived on 3 January 2015 and are on-Island until Saturday, 17 January, with the goal to better understand how Whale Sharks use the habitat around St Helena, and in turn how St Helena fits into the Atlantic (and global) Whale Shark picture.

Alistair explains:

“The Atlantic is drastically understudied for Whale Sharks compared to the other oceans, and we are here to work with SHG and all interested Saints to help fix that.”

The work is a collaboration between ENRD, the Georgia Aquarium, Mote Marine Laboratory, Ch’ooj Ajauil, and the Marine Megafauna Foundation. This work is only possible with the help and active involvement of local stakeholders on St Helena such as fishermen, tour operators and naturalists.

Whale Shark in St Helena Waters
Whale Shark in St Helena Waters

Since their arrival to the Island the team have been working off the ‘Enchanted Isle’ every day, scanning the leeward side of the Island for Whale Sharks, gathering identification photographs (their spot patterns are unique) and attaching satellite tags to help identify what the sharks do when they leave St Helena.

Alistair added:

“St Helena is home to adult Whale Sharks of both sexes in reliable numbers, which is unusual in the world. In most places that have Whale Sharks, they are either male-dominated groups of juveniles, or occasional individual adults. This makes us think St Helena may be important for the reproductive cycle, which is a big deal because mating and birthing in this species have not been documented before.”

When they leave on Saturday, Alistair and Rafael will have a lot of work to do identifying Whale Sharks and extracting measurements from the photos taken. It will then be a waiting game until the satellite tags start to report in 6-12 months time.

Rafael concluded:

“It is simply a pleasure to be in such a strikingly unique place. The landscape and geology is spectacular and everyone we have met with has been super friendly and accommodating.

“St Helena’s marine life is stunning. As a marine biologist, the experience of putting your head underwater and recognising almost NONE of the species is an absolute pleasure. There are so many animals not found anywhere else – this really is the Galapagos of the Atlantic.

“We can’t wait to come back. With the help of the SHG and the St Helenian people, this has been an extraordinarily successful expedition!”

Both Alistair and Rafael are marine biologists interested in a wide range of marine animals, especially Whale Sharks, Manta Rays, Devil Rays, dolphins and whales. Alistair is from Australia but has lived in the US for 15 years. Rafael is from Mexico City and now lives in Cancun, Mexico.

SHG
13 January 2015

Greta Pat Musk MBE JP was today reappointed as Sheriff of St Helena by His Excellency Governor Capes.

Mrs Musk took the prescribed Oaths before the Governor in his office at the Castle (photo attached). Mrs Musk’s appointment is effective until 31 December 2015.

Mrs Musk and HE Governor Capes
Mrs Musk and HE Governor Capes

The Sheriff of St Helena is nominally responsible for enforcing Court Orders, with this usually carried out by the Police Service on the Sheriff’s behalf. The Sheriff is also responsible for summoning Jurors when a Jury is required, either in the Supreme Court or for a Coroner’s Inquest. Her most conspicuous public role, however, is the swearing in of Governors and Acting Governors.

SHG
13 January 2015

The Environment & Natural Resources Committee has given approval to three merchants in Main Street to temporarily reserve a parking bay on the Stand for loading and unloading of goods for a period of up to four hours per day for local deliveries – on the understanding that this takes place outside of busy times and busy days.

In cases when off-loading goods received from the RMS St Helena means that it is not possible to avoid the busy times/days, merchants may need to reserve the car park for longer than four hours. This will be the exception and not the norm.

The portable signs used for this purpose are identified with “MERCHANT” printed above “NO PARKING” in large black letters on a white background.

Merchants are required to adhere to this arrangement. Should these conditions be breached then this arrangement may be withdrawn.

SHG
13 January 2015

A Director has been appointed for the new Safeguarding Directorate. Greg Hall (photo attached) is the successful applicant and will arrive to the Island on Thursday, 29 January 2015.

As Director of Safeguarding, Greg will be responsible for the integrity and quality of social services on St Helena, ensuring that services are provided in the most cost effective and ‘joined up’ way and, so far as possible – at a common standard, with a focus on prevention. This will include promoting collaboration across services, including those to children and young people, for those with learning disabilities, and other services such as residential provision.

Greg Hall
Greg Hall

Greg commented:

“It’s a privilege to have a chance to work with the local community and help develop social services on St Helena.

“Social services are vital to improving the everyday lives and security of people in the community, and most effective where they respect and value community input which can help shape their delivery.”

Greg has worked in community and Government social services settings for 20 years. Prior to his appointment on St Helena, Greg was the manager for a large team of social workers across rural and regional communities in New South Wales, Australia, as well as Director of Professional Development and Research for the Australian Department of Human Services Social Workers nationally.

Greg has a wealth of practical experience of shaping social service delivery in conjunction with communities and service users. He recently spent several years working with CSIRO (an Australian scientific agency) researching and developing evidence around the delivery of quality social services.

Greg concluded:

“I hope that my previous experience will be of real benefit in my new role. I’m looking forward to learning from the community in St Helena and building on the good work which has already been done by SHG. There have been some significant steps taken in social services, particularly recently, and I’d like to add to this.”
Greg will travel to St Helena from his home in Coffs Harbour in New South Wales.

SHG
13 January 2015

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