Harry Legg OBE JP has today been appointed by Governor Capes as Acting Sheriff of St Helena (see attached photo), whilst the current Sheriff, Greta Pat Musk MBE JP, is temporarily away from the Island.
The Sheriff’s prescribed Oaths were taken before His Excellency in the Governor’s Office at the Castle and become immediately effective, until the substantive Sheriff returns to St Helena on 29 July 2013.
The Sheriff of St Helena is nominally responsible for enforcing Court Orders, and this is 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. The most conspicuous public role, however, is the swearing in of Governors and Acting Governors.
In the run-up the St Helena General Election on 17 July 2013, there continues to be much interesting discussion about the role of Councillors and officials and the structure of Government. The public may find this brief summary helpful.
The 12 Councillors (Elected Members) who are elected on 17 July will make up (along with three non-voting members) the Legislative Council – usually known as ‘LegCo’. LegCo is our Legislature – empowered to make laws. Technically, it is the Governor who ‘makes’ the law, but he can only do so with the explicit approval of LegCo. The 2009 Constitution took away the residual power for the Governor to make a law which LegCo had rejected.
The 12 members of LegCo will choose five of them (with the same three non-voting officials) to form the Executive Council – usually known as ‘ExCo’. The Executive Council is, for most purposes, ‘the Government’ [together with the Council Committees (see below) and LegCo]. All major policy decisions, including proposals to make new laws, or amend existing ones, pass through the Councillors on Executive Council.
Voters who have listened to, or read, the Governor’s ExCo Reports will know the vast range of subjects which ExCo deals with and determines. Its meetings are, in effect, St Helena’s equivalent of UK Cabinet meetings. Again, the 2009 Constitution reduced the Governor’s ability to act contrary to the Council’s advice.
Beneath the Executive Council, there will be five Council Committees. Each will have a Chairman (one of the 12 Elected Members, chosen by them), and each will have a number of other Members. Non-Councillors may be appointed, but there will be a majority of Councillors. Currently, all Committee Members are Elected Members of LegCo.
Unless the new Councillors advise differently, the five Committees will deal with a wide range of issues under the titles of:
Heath & Social Services
Environment & Natural Resources
These Committees have a central role in Government. They formulate policies in their subject areas and submit these to ExCo for approval. The supporting role of officials here is to advise upon, implement and operate approved policies.
The operation of all arms of SHG are governed by and based upon the Partnership Values written into St Helena’s Constitution. These principles are:
the Rule of Law
Sound Financial Management
the Impartial Administration of Justice
the Impartiality of the St Helena Public Service
the Maintenance of Public Order
Compliance with Applicable International Obligations of the UK and of St Helena
the Maintenance of International Peace and Security and the Right of Individual or Collective Self-defence
In exercising their responsibilities and powers, all those working within Government have a duty to give effect to these Partnership Values and principles of good governance.
INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS
Under the Constitution, every person in St Helena is entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual – that is, has those rights, without distinction of any kind, such as sex, sexual orientation, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association, property, age, disability, birth or other status – subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest.
The Constitution contains extensive rules about fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, including:
the Right to Life, and Protection from Torture or Inhuman Treatment
the Right to Liberty
Freedoms of Conscience, of Expression, and of Assembly
Privacy and Family Life
Protection from Discrimination
All those working within Government are under a duty to respect these rights and freedoms.
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.
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.
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.”
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
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.
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: email@example.com 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.’