Open to the Public from 9.30 am
Executive Council will meet next Tuesday morning, 22 July 2014, in the Council Chamber.
The meeting will be open to the public from 9.30am for the following Open Agenda items:
• Spear Guns Control Ordinance & Spear Guns Control Order
• A paper on the Definition of Disability
Executive Council Members are: Ian Rummery, Christine Scipio-O’Dean, Lawson Henry and Wilson Duncan. Councillor Brian Isaac is temporarily sitting on ExCo while Leslie Baldwin is away on overseas business.
The consultation process for the proposed paid leave & sick pay for private sector individuals includes drop in sessions/advice and issuing of the employees survey questionnaires.
Human Rights Facilitator, Catherine Turner explained:
“The Human Rights Committee is delighted to assist with this consultation and we hope as many people as possible will visit the office. But for those that cannot make it I am happy to take you through the questionnaire over the phone. What is essential is that as many employees as possible, from the private sector participate in the consultation and your submissions will be kept in the strictest confidence.”
Drop in sessions are as follows:
Wednesday 16 July – Friday 1 August (9am – 5pm)
Saturday 19 July (10am – 1pm)
Saturday 26 July (10am – 1pm)
Tuesday 22 July (9am – 7pm)
Thursday 24 July (9am – 7pm)
The Human Rights Office is situated at the rear entrance to No3 Main Street. Access can be gained from the back road in between St James Church and No 1 Main Street.
A Private Sector Open Access Event will also be held at the Jamestown Community Centre at Wednesday 23 July – 7pm.
St Helena’s Executive Council (photo attached) – comprising Councillors Ian Rummery, Wilson Duncan, Christine Scipio-O’Dean, Lawson Henry and Brian Isaac – have reacted strongly to a story about St Helena in today’s Daily Mail regarding child protection and sexual offences. Council believes that the article paints a totally untrue picture of the Island, much of it based on hearsay.
Executive Council said:
“Today’s Daily Mail portrays a false and totally unbalanced image of St Helena, and has angered St Helenians, both on-Island and overseas. Those who live on St Helena recognise that there are issues around child protection and sexual crime, but also know that they live in a remarkably peaceful and safe community, a fact invariably noted by visitors to the Island.
“St Helena has the same issues as any other jurisdiction and has made strong progress over the past few years in dealing with and prosecuting sex offenders and improving child protection.
“The two reports cited by the Daily Mail in fact demonstrate a process of continual improvement. We investigate all sexual allegations and anyone found guilty faces the full force of the law. Numerous prosecutions of sex offenders over the past few years demonstrate this.
“The Council has every confidence in the Police force on the Island, which benefits from excellent leadership. We resent the insinuation in the newspaper that somehow the Police do not take sex offences seriously. Quite the opposite is the truth.
“Executive Councillors recognise the commitment of Legislative Council, St Helena Police, Social Services, the Governor, the FCO and all others involved, in taking child protection and sexual crime very seriously. All of us are working hard to improve safeguarding on St Helena, and are very disappointed in the obvious bias in today’s newspaper story.
“And there has been no attempt to somehow cover up the findings of these reports. Their findings have been well publicised on the Island and Councillors have held public and media debates on these issues. To suggest that there is a reluctance to engage in issues around child safeguarding, somehow linked to a wish not to damage tourism, is absurd.
“Councillors and Government here welcome any objective and independent review of our current arrangements. Recommendations in both the reports cited have been implemented and are now well embedded on the Island. There is always more to do and we are not complacent, but the fact remains that child safeguarding provisions on St Helena are stronger now than they have ever been. The way cases are assembled, supervised and prosecuted has been reformed, as have training and professional standards. In addition, our various agencies here are now working closely together to review historic cases. It is a shame that this excellent work went unrecognised in the Daily Mail.”
Councillor and Children’s Champion Christine Scipio-O’Dean concluded:
“We are all alarmed by the inflammatory and biased reporting in the article published today. We have taken great steps on St Helena to protect our children and vulnerable people against abuse of any kind. We know that there are concerns, as there are in any community, but solid progress has been made in improving our safeguarding capabilities. We know there is still more to do, and we will continue to strive for further improvements.”
The Health & Social Services Directorate would like to advise the public that due to outpatient clinics in Half Tree Hollow temporarily being held on a Monday only (although extended until 3pm), with effect from next week, the Pharmacy Bus will only be available at the Half Tree Hollow Clinic on the Monday.
So, for a short period, those needing a repeat prescription should collect their prescription from the Bus at Half Tree Hollow on a Monday until further notice. The Pharmacy Bus will be at the clinic for the extended hours until 3pm.
The public is thanked in advance for their cooperation and understanding during this short period.
Currently on Island is Locum Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN), Claire Day (photo attached). Claire arrived on Monday 7 July 2014 and is here on a three month contract working with the medical team to provide psychiatric services on the Island, while a longer term CPN is being recruited.
As the CPN Claire’s role covers all age ranges and types of mental health problems.
“These problems can be emotional difficulties that people of all ages are having – from children that may have issues through to teenagers and adults or older people that might be suffering from memory loss or similar problems.”
During her first week on the Island Claire has been meeting with doctors, health workers and other professionals within the different settings that she will be working in over the next three months. She has begun to see longer term patients and will continue to conduct hospital appointments and make home visits to those needing her support.
Claire will be working closely with Social Services staff, Island schools, Community Nurses, Police and staff from other units on the Island such as the Community Care Complex.
Claire explains the importance of having a CPN on St Helena:
“Mental health is an area of healthcare that doesn’t receive a lot of the limelight. There is a problem with people admitting they may have mental health problems or seeking support – so I think it’s very important to have a CPN on the Island, to educate people and to let them know what the warning signs are. The sooner the problem gets to us the better the outcomes are and the more effective their treatment is going to be.”
There are a huge range of different illnesses covered by the term ‘Psychiatric’, Claire added:
“There are people who have trouble with the many different types of anxiety, there are those who have low mood or depression when it becomes more of an illness, there are phobias or fears that are quite irrational, illnesses where people hear or see things that other people can’t. Into older age, there’s dementia that can affect people and also there are those on St Helena with learning disabilities.”
Claire’s role is to support people who might be suffering from any of these types of illnesses.
During her time on St Helena, Claire is personally hoping to learn more about the Island and the lifestyle and culture of Saints. Professionally, Claire will be drawing on her UK experience to make the service offered on St Helena more effective in providing care for those who might need it.
The St Helena Police Service announced on Saturday 12 July 2014 that reports had been received of a ‘monkey like’ animal sighted in the Rupert’s Valley area. The public were advised not to approach any such animal and to contact the Police immediately.
This afternoon representatives from the Police, Health & Social Welfare and the Environment & Natural Resources Directorate, including the Island Vet, met to discuss the sightings reported.
There is no conclusive evidence to suggest that an animal that should not be on the Island is here. Witness accounts have described the animal as big, brown, flat-faced and moving at a very fast pace, in an almost ‘cat-like’ manner. This suggests that the unidentified animal could be a very large feral tom cat, but at this stage this cannot be confirmed.
The Police are keeping an open mind and encourage witnesses who might have seen this unidentified animal to report it to them in the normal way. Written statements will be taken and the Police will continue to monitor all reports received and keep the public informed.
As advised on Saturday, any members of the public who see this animal should not approach it, but should call the police immediately. A photograph of the sighting, if possible, will aid the police in their investigation.
Expressions of interest (EOI) for providing Ocean Freight Services to St Helena was advertised in late May 2014 (published in Island newspapers on 22 and 23 May) – looking to identify appropriate solutions to supply the Island’s Ocean Freight needs on a fully commercial (non-subsidised) basis from mid 2016.
The advertisement invited EOIs from suitably qualified and experienced organisations interested in providing an ocean freight service to the Island following the opening of the Island’s Airport – for an initial term of five years (with an option to extend for further periods up to a maximum of 10 years).
The deadline for EOIs and return of the Pre-Qualification Questionnaire closed on Friday 11 July 2014.
Corporate Procurement Executive, David Woosey, reports that an excellent response was received from a variety of operators around the world. Eight serious responses were received with a number of different business models and hub ports being proposed.
These EOIs will now be evaluated by a team of representatives from SHG, St Helena Line, Enterprise St Helena, the St Helena Chamber of Commerce and the St Helena Tourism Association – to determine which potential solutions to take forward to the next stage.
“For obvious reasons the names of those submitting Expressions of Interest and the content of the proposals must remain confidential at this time. Solutions received will be compared against a variety of criteria.”
The coming months will see detailed negotiations taking place with a number of organisations that have provided high quality responses, to fine tune proposals into viable and workable solutions.
“We envisage a small number of interested suppliers will want to visit the Island and, should this be the case, we will facilitate Q&A sessions via the Chamber of Commerce. “Once we are confident that we have a number of workable solutions, we anticipate holding a number of consultation sessions with local importers to help inform the final tender round.
“Whilst it is very early in the process, we are confident that an appropriate solution to St Helena’s ocean freight needs will be in place by mid-2016.”
SHG Shipping Officer, Dax Richards, commented:
“This is a great result for St Helena. We had hoped to get around six proposals given the interest received when an initial expressions of interest process was led by ESH in 2013. To receive eight potentially viable proposals gives the Island a number of options and is very encouraging. We’d like to thank key stakeholders for the support we have received so far. If the negotiations go well, we expect that a contract could be signed around March or April 2015.”
The Public Solicitor’s Office (PSO) is pleased to announce the appointment of two new Lay advocates – Miss Julie Thomas of Gordons Post and Mr Geoffrey Dawson of Longwood. They will join the two existing Lay Advocates, Ivy Ellick and Eric Benjamin. Geoffrey Dawson and Ivy Ellick are currently off-Island and will return in September of this year.
Public Solicitor, Debbie Wahle (pictured with Julie Thomas), said of the appointments:
“This is such an important time for the Island and we must ensure that there is access to justice for each member of the community who needs assistance. The Public Solicitor’s Office is committed to providing an excellent and unique service to the Island, and I hope that all members of the community continue to support the vital work of our Lay Advocates.”
Lay Advocates training will begin when both new Lay Advocates start their roles in early September. Emma Gilsenan, a Criminal Barrister who worked with the PSO last year, will again be joining the Office for 8 weeks during Debbie Wahle’s forthcoming leave. She will be conducting specific and tailored training in all aspects of criminal law, including Police Station representation and Court appearances. This training will continue, delivered by Debbie, on her return from leave in September.
On behalf of the Public Solicitor for St Helena and Ascension Island
During the review and consultation that led to the introduction of the Minimum Wage on St Helena, it was agreed to consider the introduction of paid annual leave and sick pay. Improved conditions in the workplace will provide an incentive to securing skilled staff and increasing productivity.
Informal Legislative Council agreed on Friday 4 July to bring forward this proposal for public consultation. Brian Isaac, Deputy Chair of the Social & Community Development Committee, commented:
“Some private sector employer’s terms and conditions are generous to their employees, but the current position remains that employer’s on St Helena are under no obligation to provide any statutory paid holidays or sick pay.
“In looking at this, the committee has taken into consideration the current economic position on the Island in the run up to the Airport, and wants to balance economic growth with employee protection.”
The Committee will now proceed to consult widely with the public on the introduction of a minimum level of paid annual leave and sick pay. Discussions will be held with various groups, including private sector employees, the Chamber of Commerce, ESH, the Human Rights Office, plus at an open access event. Surveys will also be issued to establish employees’ and employers’ views on the proposal.
The proposal is to phase in minimum levels of paid annual leave and paid sick leave over a number of years, as indicated below:
Paid Sick Leave
The consultation process will form the basis of a report that will identify next steps. Both employers’ and employees’ opinions will be fully considered as part of this consultation process.
There will be advance notice of meetings for the public through the media, as well as progress updates.
To mark the construction of the Terminal Building at the Airport, in early May the St Helena Government Public Relations Office launched a competition in Island schools for young people to submit a drawing, poem or essay – with winning entries to be placed in the Time Capsule which was buried at the Terminal Building on 28 June 2014.
A total of 131 entries were received from the schools and were judged by Lindsay McGinnety, Pamela Murray and Liam Yon. The high quality of the entries meant judges had a difficult task of choosing winners for each category, and as a result an additional three entries were highly commended. Most of the entries were of artwork.
To showcase the incredible talent of the young people on St Helena – all competition entries will be displayed on the ground floor of Porteous House from today 11 July 2014 to Friday 18 July.
Passersby are encouraged to view the display and see firsthand the perspectives, ideas and high quality of work from the young people of 2014.