Esther Rodrigo
Esther Rodrigo

Newly arrived on the Island is Esther Rodrigo, the new Physiotherapist for the Health and Social Welfare Directorate, on a two year contract.  Esther is based at the Community Care Complex (CCC) in Ladder Hill, Half Tree Hollow.

Supported by Rosie Walton (Assistant Physiotherapist) and Helen Owen (Locum Physiotherapy Manager, and who covers for the Physiotherapist when on leave) the Physiotherapist treats patients daily at the CCC, the Hospital and also conducts home visits for those unable to travel.

Esther commented:

“Physiotherapy treats patients who suffer from physical health conditions, illnesses or injuries – such as orthopaedic or muscle conditions – but it is also used to treat individuals who suffer from respiratory illnesses.” 

“In London I mainly worked with orthopaedic and sport injury conditions.  The main difference between here and the UK is that here you treat a variety of cases, all kinds of patients.  In the UK you are more specialised. 

“The challenge of acquiring adequate resources is also a difference compared with equipment and faculties available in the UK.”   

Esther, originally from Spain, has experience in treating chronic patients before her move to the UK to take on employment with the NHS, working with elderly patients – some in various states of dementia and depression.  Esther then moved on to a private clinic in London before relocating with her husband to St Helena.


28 January 2014








St Helena Line Ltd has this afternoon advised that, as a consequence of an onboard medical emergency, it has been necessary to divert the RMS to Walvis Bay, Namibia, it being the nearest port. The decision was taken this afternoon, Monday 27 January 2014.

The distance to Walvis Bay is 399 nautical miles and with the current speed of just over 16 knots, the ETA at Walvis Bay is approximately 14.30 hours local time on Tuesday 28 January.

Options are currently being pursued to deal with the situation at Walvis Bay.

The distance from Walvis Bay to St Helena is 1,241 nautical miles and at an average speed of 15.5 knots, the ETA for the RMS at St Helena will now be either 20.00 hours on Friday 31 January, or 06.00 hours on Saturday 1 February.


27 January 2014


Awardees with the Chief Secretary
Awardees with the Chief Secretary


In a presentation this afternoon, eleven Human Resources personnel from St Helena Government and Solomon and Company were awarded certificates of qualification in HR Practice, from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Awardees of the Level 3 foundation certificate – Meliza Knipe, Bronwen Yon, Jackie Moyce, Sharina Williams, Clare O’Dean and Anya Richards from Corporate Human Resources; Karen Thomas from the Environmental and Natural Resources Directorate, Carol Thompson from Education and Employment; plus Marianne Young Crowie and Darryl Legg from Solomon and Company and Liana Kleinhans, a former employee of Health and Social Welfare – were presented with their certificates by Chief Secretary, Owen O’ Sullivan, in the Council Chamber (photo attached).

The course was studied via distance learning with two short programmes of direct tuition provided by a visiting tutor.

During their study staff completed two, five- day modules spaced three months apart. Module 1 covered: Developing Yourself as an HR Practitioner, Recording, Analyzing and Using HR Information, Understanding Organizations and the Role of HR, Supporting Good Practice in Managing Employment Relations and Resourcing Talent. Topics covered in Module 2 focused on Supporting Good Practice in Performance and Reward Management and Supporting Good Practice in Managing Employment Relations. In addition to studying each module, officers also had to produce written assessments, take part in practical skills demonstrations and pre and post workshop activities. They also had to track and document their knowledge and experience in a Continuing Professional Development log.

Director of Corporate HR, Barbara George said:

“All awardees have worked hard to gain this qualification which allows them now to develop essential HR skills and gain the confidence in becoming more effective at work – further adding value to the HR function. Well done to all!”


27 January 2014


Open to the Public from 9.30am

There will be a special meeting of Executive Council on Tuesday 28 January 2014 in the Council Chamber.
Starting at 9.30am, the meeting will be open to the public for the one open agenda item: The proposed RMS Shipping Schedule for 2015/16.
Executive Council Members are: Ian Rummery, Cyril George, Christine Scipio-O’Dean, Leslie Baldwin and Lawson Henry.

24 January 2014

The Highways Authority has today implemented a temporary three-tonne weight limit on the Deadwood Road, just beyond Longwood Gate – a sign has been installed to show where the limit starts.

This restriction is required for public and workforce safety while work takes place to construct a retaining wall supporting the side of a recent excavation below the road. The limit will remain in force until this work is complete – expected to be in late February 2014, weather permitting.

Drivers or vehicle operators needing to use this road with vehicles weighing more than three tonnes should contact David Taylor on tel: 22270.

Roads Section
22 January 2014

Executive Council met today, Tuesday 21 January 2014.  There were four items on the open agenda.

The first item was an information paper on the Repatriation of issue of the British Overseas Territories Passport (St Helena) to the UK.  Due to the need for increased security features on these passports they will be issued from the UK, starting in December 2014.  This process will take longer than the former process and the Immigration Executive has agreed to give further detailed publicity nearer the time.  As there will always be people who require passports at short notice for medical evacuations and other emergencies, a stock of blank passports will be held on-Island for these eventualities.  This means that even after December 2014, St Helena Passports – for emergencies only – will be available within three days.

The second item was the request for removal of land from the National Forest to facilitate the relocation of the Fire Station to an area that will meet the specified response times for the Airport. In this regard, a preferred site has been identified in the Alarm Forest area, near the bus stop. The area required will be up to two acres and at present this area is classed as National Forest.  There is a detailed process before a Fire Station can be built and this is the first step in identifying a suitable piece of land.  Following ExCo approval, the next stage is for a six week period in which the public can make comments on the use of the land for the proposed Fire Station.  These comments will then be taken into consideration by ExCo, which will decide if the land can be used for the Fire Station.  Planning permission will still be required before the Fire Station can be built. ExCo gave approval in principle for the land to be used for a Fire Station and for the public to be invited to submit comments.

The third item was for the Land Planning and Development Control Ordinance 2013 Commencement Order and Transitional Provisions to be implemented from 1 February 2014.  This paper had originally come before ExCo in December for implementation on 1 January 2014 – due to some administrative difficulties it has come before ExCo again.

ExCo was reassured that this had not caused any significant impact, but the consultation period on the Rupert’s Development has been extended for a further four weeks to take into account the delayed implementation.

The fourth item was to endorse a recommendation made in informal Legislative Council that Hon Lawson Henry should remain as the St Helena representative at the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) and the EU Overseas Countries and Territories Forum during the term of this Legislative Council.  Previously, a different Councillor had attended these very important meetings each year – but it was felt that for continuity and to ensure that a strong and consistent message was delivered by St Helena – that Hon Lawson Henry should attend all future meetings.

Under Any Other Business, there was a discussion on stamps and the Financial Secretary informed Executive Council that the Stamp Advisory Group was open to ideas for new designs.  Important events such as the Bicentenary of Napoleon’s exile or the discovery of new species could be used to promote St Helena through new stamp issues.  The public is encouraged to propose new ideas for designs to the Post Office.

The DAPM visit was very successful and all agreed that it was a very positive start to 2014.


21 January 2014

LEMP Project Manager - Ross Towers
LEMP Project Manager – Ross Towers

The Landscape and Ecology Mitigation Programme (LEMP), an important component of the Airport project, has from 1 January 2014 welcomed new Project Manager, Ross Towers (photo attached).

Ross is based at the Access Office and is contracted until 2016 to carry through the activities of the LEMP – aimed at lessening the impact of the construction of the Airport and associated works, through avoidance, reduction and offsetting.

Ross explained:

“On the ground, the LEMP will focus on habitat restoration, creation, and landscaping to provide compensatory habitats and landscape treatment to reduce and offset the permanent direct loss of habitat and the direct and indirect impacts on the landscape, as a result of constructing the Airport and supporting infrastructure.”

The LEMP project will involve the surveying of important habitats and species to ensure their protection, the growing and planting of tens of thousands of endemic and native plants, earthworks (mounding and earth shaping) to complement the landscape and the removal of non-native invasive flora and fauna –  just a few of LEMP’s activities.

Ross added:

“In the first instance the LEMP will safeguard existing habitats and landscapes where possible.  Where this is not possible, it will seek to mitigate against those lost to the Airport footprint for the benefit of people and wildlife.”

As the LEMP Project Manager, Ross will coordinate and facilitate LEMP partners (SHG, St Helena National Trust, SHAPE, the private sector and local community) in delivering the goals and aspirations of the programme. Through the bringing together of all available knowledge, expertise and opinion, balanced against the resources and timescales faced by the LEMP, it is hoped to deliver the best value-for-money results for the environment and the people of St Helena.

The LEMP has a legal requirement for the completion of the Airport project which Ross explains will significantly impact on the legacy which the construction leaves behind: “How will the landscape change as a result of the airport and how would St Helena like it to look in 5, 10, or 20 years time? The LEMP will impact the way the affected lands will look, and ecologically evolve, for generations to come.”

Also arising from the LEMP project will be the creation of several new jobs on-Island. Roles will focus on practical activities, such as seed collecting, propagating (growing) endemic and native plants, the removal of invasive non-native species, and eventually the planting of plants. The LEMP is also keen to build on and facilitate the efforts of others by developing areas of mutual benefit, such as composting of green waste and recycling.

The LEMP started in 2008 and, as with the rest of the Airport project, was put on hold in 2009. It recommenced in 2013 and must now hit the ground running in 2014 to make the most of the opportunities presenting themselves. To date, a great deal of work has taken place on designing the LEMP in conjunction with the Airport project, but there is still a great deal to do.

Initially, Ross will be focusing his efforts on agreeing areas of work with partners and facilitating the up-scaling of current resources, such as increasing the facilities for the tree nurseries at Scotland and the Millennium Forest, and recruitment for environmental roles. 


21 January 2014




Sean Burns
Sean Burns

Sean Burns (pictured), the previous Administrator of Tristan da Cunha, has been appointed as the next Head of the Governor’s Office and will arrive on Island on Thursday 6 February 2014.

The role of Head of the Governor’s Office now carries additional responsibilities, including the role of Acting Governor in the Governor’s absence, a change that reflects the model on the Falkland Islands.

Sean, like the Governor, is a member of Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service and his posting to St Helena is expected to be for about three years. He will be accompanied by his wife Marina. Sean’s last posting was as the Administrator on Tristan.

Commenting on his posting to St Helena, Sean said:

“I am delighted to have been appointed Head of the Governor’s Office. 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 about the exciting changes that are taking place.”

One photo accompanies this release.

21 January 2014

The visiting Department for International Development (DfID) Development Aid Planning Mission (DAPM) and the St Helena Government have this morning (Saturday, 18 Jan 2014) signed the 2014-15 Aide Memoire (AM). The document was signed by HE Governor Capes and DfID Deputy Head of the Overseas Territories Department, Dr Kenny Dick (pictured).

DAPM – Final Aide Memoire 2014-2015

DAPM Aide Memoire PR

Signing of the Aide Memoire
Signing of the Aide Memoire
Signing of the Aide Memoire plus ExCo Members
Signing of the Aide Memoire plus ExCo Members

Open to the Public from 9.30am

Executive Council will meet on Tuesday 21January 2014 in the Council Chamber.

Commencing at 9.30am, the meeting will be open to the public for the following agenda items: Repatriation of British Overseas Territories Passport Issuing to the UK, Request for Removal of Land from National Forest to Facilitate the Relocation of the Fire Station, Land Planning and Development Control Ordinance 2013 Commencement Order, and Transitional Provisions, and Attendance at future Joint Ministerial Conferences.  

Executive Council Members are: Ian Rummery, Cyril George, Christine Scipio- O’Dean, Leslie Baldwin and Lawson Henry.    


17 January 2014