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
25 June 2013

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

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 – or

Kimberley Yon-Roberts – or

25 June 2013

Work Colleagues at Shipping Registry in Jersey
Work Colleagues at Shipping Registry in Jersey
Recieving the UK Ship Register Plaque from Graeme Carnegie MCA
Recieving the UK Ship Register Plaque from Graeme Carnegie MCA
Going onboard a fishing boat to conduct a survey in Bridlington
Going onboard a fishing boat to conduct a survey in Bridlington

Post and Customer Service Manager, Karen Yon, recently returned from overseas training under the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Fund.

Karen’s training was focused around her role as Registrar for Shipping and was arranged with the Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA), Department for Transport, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the Registry of Shipping and Seamen, the Beverley Marine Office (all in the UK), the Ships Registry Office, Coastguard Office, Marine Leisure Office and Legal Office in Jersey, plus the Ships Registry Office, Harbour and Marine Office and Sea Fisheries Office in Guernsey.

These placements gave Karen a wide oversight of managing maritime matters and allowed her to ascertain whether procedures and practices on St Helena are up to date and complying with UK standards.

Karen gained an insight into:

• The policies, procedures and standards of operation for small commercial vessels, fishing vesselsand pleasure vessels
• Coding and licensing of vessels
• Surveying of fishing, pleasure and commercial vessels
• Codes of Practice
• Quality Management
• Security Management
• Documentation for registering differently coded vessels
• Mandatory, basic training for fishermen
• Pollution prevention
• Legislation
• International conventions and protocols
• Registration of births and deaths on board vessels
• Carrying out enquiries into deaths on board vessels
• Procedure for apostilled birth and death certificates
• Processing of discharge books and requirements
• Maintaining a small ships registry
• Coding for areas of operation, berthing charges and local registration for jet skis.

During her time in the UK Karen also attended the Category Two Monitoring Meeting of the St Helena Shipping Registry and met with the Chief Executive of MCA to discuss the regulatory scheme, the Annual REG Conference and the completion and signing of the MOU which would then allow the Maritime Accident Investigation Branch to carry out investigations on St Helena’s behalf.

While in Jersey, Karen was invited to the Highlands College to speak about St Helena as a microstate and in Guernsey she visited The Greffe to meet HM the Greffier/Registrar General, John Torode. While there, Karen gained an insight into Guernsey’s systems for registering and recording births, deaths and marriages, including the requirements for civil ceremonies. She was privileged to go into the Royal Assembly (which operates similar to our Legislative Council) where Karen was surprised to be welcomed by the Bailiff Richard Collas.

Karen said:

“The training I received on Shipping procedures was truly constructive and my visit to the Channel Islands, which like on St Helena, operate Category II Shipping Registries, was incredible. There I gained the most valuable experience and skills to be able to effectively manage our Registries in line with MCA requirements.”

Karen was also placed at the Office of Telecommunications in London, where she received training on policies and procedures, licensing conditions, clarification of call signs and Maritime Mobile Service Identity digits for the Island, frequency allocations and processing and approval of applications. Karen said: “It was very rewarding and beneficial to know that St Helena allocations are registered and to gain additional skills and information which will allow me to provide a better service”.

Karen also visited the Royal Mail, Heathrow Worldwide Distribution Centre (HWDC), in Slough and The 288 Group in Poole.

Karen commented:

“These placements were very beneficial, especially when I will be working with our designer on some new ideas for future stamp products. We will be able to improve our products and increase sales opportunities.

“This was also my first time leaving St Helena and I was apprehensive. But I quickly adjusted to the (normal) hectic travelling, was privileged to meet and work with some very helpful people, and have benefitted from this self-development and the contacts I have made.”
Attached to this release are three photographs.

25 June 2013

Standing for Election

The public are reminded that they have just eight days to submit candidate nominations for this year’s General Election – the closing date for nominations is Tuesday 2 July 2013 at 12 noon.

If you are considering whether to stand, the time to decide is now.

If you are over the age of 21, genuinely interested in the Island’s affairs and its people, and believe that you have the ability to lead the Island forward as it prepares for opportunities and changes that an airport will bring – then you are encouraged to step forward and submit your nomination.

The process for submitting a nomination is very simple, all you need to do is:

• Make your nomination on the prescribed form, available from the Returning Officer at No. 1 Main Street, The Customer Service Centre or Public Library.
• Make sure that each form contains the signature of the Candidate, two Sponsors and five Supporters, (all of whom must have their names on the new Register of Electors, (published today 24 June 2013). Each Signature must be witnessed (except that of the Candidate) – and the signatures of the two ‘Sponsors’ need to be witnessed by the Returning Officer, Gillian Francis, or a Justice of the Peace.
• Submit completed forms to the Returning Officer by noon on Tuesday 2 July 2013. Early submission is recommended to allow time to correct any errors.

Nomination forms are available from the Returning Officer, at No. 1 Main Street who is also available to answer any questions you may have on the nomination process (Tel: 2314).

Proxy Voting

If more than 12 nominations are received then a Poll will be held on Wednesday, 17 July 2013. The law allows a voter who will be absent from St Helena on polling day, or is by reason of illness or physical incapacity, unable to attend the polling station – to appoint a person (a “Proxy”) to vote on his or her behalf.

The Proxy must be a person who is also eligible to vote – i.e. have their name on the Electoral Register. The new Register of Electors, which will be the one used in this year’s General Election, was published today. It should be noted that no person can be a Proxy for more than one absent or sick elector.

Application forms for voting by proxy are available from the Returning Officer at 1 Main Street, the Customer Service Centre and the Library. Completed forms must be submitted by 10am on Monday 15 July (that is, 48 hours before the start of the poll).

If proxy forms cannot be collected in person, and individuals are unable to submit completed forms by hard copy, you can do so by receiving and sending the forms by email to the Returning Officer, Gillian Francis on Completed forms may be delivered directly to the Returning Officer at No 1 Main Street, or can be sent by fax or email to Gillian Francis. However, the email or fax must contain the fully completed form, with an original (hand-written) signature.

24 June 2013

The 2013 Register of Electors was published today, 24 June, 2013 in an Extraordinary Gazette. The Register is effective from 1 July 2013.

Only persons who are named on the Register will be eligible to vote, or stand, in the General Election 2013 which will take place on Wednesday 17 July. Those aged under 21 years cannot stand as Candidates.

Further information regarding Polling Day was published in an Insert in both newspapers in the week commencing Monday 10 June. More information will follow.

24 June 2013

Deputy Chief Secretary, Gillian Francis, has this morning taken the role of Acting Chief Secretary, after taking the prescribed Oaths of Office in the presence of His Excellency, Governor Capes, in his office at the Castle. Gillian’s appointment as Acting Chief Secretary becomes immediately effective.

Chief Secretary, Owen O’sullivan and his family departed the Island on Friday 21 June for a period of overseas leave. The Chief Secretary will return to St Helena on Monday 2 September 2013.

Gillian Francis takes the Oaths for Acting Chief Secretary

24 June 2013

The Immigration section would like to advise the public departing for Cape Town that the Foreign Office guidance to travellers carrying British or British Overseas Territories passports in South Africa recently changed – with the following statement added to their information for travellers:

“Always carry your identity documentation or a copy of your passport. You’ll need to be able to produce valid identification on request by South African officials.”

It is recommended that travellers carry a photocopy of their passport with them while in South Africa. If you decide to carry your original passport, you should ensure it is kept in a safe place and that you retain a copy of it.

20 June 2013

 Stored Water Levels in Redhill Zone Sufficient for 12 Days

The water shortage on St Helena, though still severe and serious in the affected areas, has eased slightly with this week’s bowsering efforts and the continued reduced level of consumption in the Redhill distribution area.  Although there have been irregular rain showers over the last few days, this has made no significant change in the amount of stored water levels. 

Stored water levels at Redhill remain exceptionally low, but have extended slightly to around 12 days of supply. The Contingency Planning Group (CPG) again thanks the public for responding to the water situation and reducing consumption, as this has helped greatly in stretching the stored water supply. 

An additional bowser from Ascension Island arrived on the RMS this week.  Donated to SHG by MOD at no cost, it will become fully operational at the beginning of next week.  The CPG thanks the MOD for the bowser, which will further increase stored water levels in the Redhill Distribution area.    

The laying of pipework to pump raw water to the Scotts Mill Reservoir area from Hutts Gate, via Grape Vine Gut, will also become effective next week.  This water will then be treated at Redhill, before entering the main system.

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 and we thank all districts for reducing their water consumption.

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


21 June 2013

Gravity Rush1                                                                                                   Gravity Rush2

St Helena’s first ever Gravity Rush race event took place in front of an estimated 800-strong crowd on Sunday 16 June 2013.

Organised by SHAPE (St Helena’s Active Participation in Enterprise), the event encouraged the participation of homemade Go-Karts to race down Main Street, Jamestown, finishing on the Bridge in the market place area.

The thrilling and at times hilarious event saw eight entrants, and several spills during the qualifying races.

Cable and Wireless emerged the overall winners, finishing in a remarkable time of just over 40 seconds in their Company inspired Land Rover-styled Go-Kart. Following closely behind was Prince Andrew School’s ‘Renault’ and third place went to Thorpe’s Stores.

SHAPE itself also picked up a prize for best design but had to withdraw from the competition later due to technical difficulties.

Sharon George, Assistant Manager of SHAPE said:

“We were very happy with the afternoon’s event. Lots of hard work went into its preparation and we were really pleased with the turnout and overall success. Our thanks are extended to all those who took part and to the public for their great support.”

Total monies raised on the day were £1628 which will now go towards the £10,000 needed each year to help with SHAPE activities.

The success of the event has now earmarked it as an annual activity. 


19 June 2013


The Health and Social Welfare Directorate has received notification from DfID of overall ‘A’ ratings for two major projects indicating that both programmes have met their overall objectives.

The Healthlink 3 and Health Strategy projects started in October 2008 and ended in March 2012.  The main focus of Healthlink 3 was to ensure that key professional personnel for Health and Social Services were provided for St Helena and Tristan da Cunha.  The Health Strategy project complemented Healthlink 3 and – looking forward – focused on developing and improving overall health and social services provision on the Island. The project funding enabled staff training and investment in equipment which have helped to raise standards in health and social care services.

Director of Health and Social Welfare Mrs Carol George said: 

“We are extremely pleased with the ratings received for these projects.  This is the result of hard work and commitment from everyone and I thank all staff involved.  The Directorate is committed to maintain and where necessary further improve health and social welfare services on the Island.”


19 June 2013