The Budgetary Aid Mission team (BAM – formally called the Development Assistance Planning Mission) from the Department for International Development (DFID) will be on St Helena from Wednesday 29 October – Thursday 6 November 2014 to lay the foundations for agreeing a budget by early 2015.

The team members are Douglas Winslow, Mary Thompson and David Finan.

The team will meet with officials and other stakeholders to discuss economic and budgetary performance to date and forecasts for the rest of the year, and will also explore the opportunities and challenges of moving to a three year budget settlement.

The team will discuss related policies and strategic business plans going forward, and will review progress against the 2014 Budget Aide Memoire.

The Budgetary Aid Mission will not produce an agreed budget settlement or an Aide Memoire.

SHG

21 October 2014

 

The Governor’s Office has once again been invited by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to submit recommendations for HM the Queen’s Birthday Honours for St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.

Persons wishing to submit nominations for the 2015 Birthday Honours are reminded that the overriding principle is that honours are awarded on merit for exceptional achievement or any service recently carried out over and above what normally is expected.  Where possible, nominations should place emphasis on voluntary services.  It should also be noted that age is not a factor in awarding honours and younger members of the community who have made an outstanding contribution or have given exceptional service, should not be overlooked.  It is important that nominations are kept confidential and that nominees are not made aware that they are being proposed for award of an Honour.

Nomination forms are available from Mrs Carol George, Corporate Services Executive Manager and completed forms should be returned to the Executive Secretary, Honours Committee, in a sealed envelope, marked confidential, by Friday, 7 November 2014.

SHG

22 October 2014

Each year St Helena supports the Royal British Legion’s work through the Poppy Appeal.  The Poppy Appeal is the Legion’s largest fundraising campaign and each year has a different focus.

The Remembrance Poppy has been used since 1920 to commemorate soldiers who have died at war.  Inspired by the World War Poem “In Flanders Fields”, they were first used by the American Legion to commemorate American Soldiers who died in the war (1914-1918).  Today, they are mainly used in the UK and Canada to commemorate their servicemen and women who have been killed in all conflict since 1914. The Remembrance Poppy is especially prominent in the UK and on St Helena in the weeks leading up to Remembrance Sunday.

On Saturday 25 October and Saturday 1 November 2014, the Poppy Appeal will be raising money in the lower Jamestown area through the distribution of poppy wristbands, lapel pins, emblem stickers, badges, bracelets and standard poppies.  Uniformed contingents (ex servicemen, Salvation Army, Scouts and Guides) will be making their way through Main Street and members of the public are encouraged to support the cause and have their poppies in advance of Remembrance Day.

This year the Remembrance Day service will be held on Sunday 9 November 2014.

SHG

21 October 2014

 

Following a rigorous recruitment process, Ms Nicola Moore has been selected to serve as St Helena’s new Attorney General.  She will take up her appointment in late November 2014.

Governor Capes, who chaired the selection panel, said:  

“I look forward to working with Nicola who brings much valuable experience and expertise to the role. She and her talented team in the Attorney General’s Chambers will have much to do in a hugely busy period as we count down to air access.”

Ms Moore has 21 years experience as a Barrister in both civil and criminal work.  Her career includes service as a commissioned officer in the Royal Air Force Legal Branch; as Crown Counsel in the British Overseas Territory of the Cayman Islands; and in private practice in the Crown Dependency of Jersey in the Channel Islands.

SHG

21 October 2014

 

Upcoming Wharf Closure

The public is advised that from 1 November 2014 finalisation of remedial works to some defective pavements at the wharf will commence, as part of the Wharf Improvements Project.

Engineers from Nicholas O ‘Dwyer  (Supervisory Engineering body on behalf of SHG) and from CAN France contractors will arrive on Island on Wednesday, 29 October 2014 to oversee the works subcontracted to local contractor John Isaac Construction.

These works will see the replacement and repairing of concrete slabs laid in 2011/12 (located in the Thompsons Crane area – mid-Wharf, sea-ward side) under the defects clause of the Jamestown Wharf Improvements Project Phase 1 contract. These remedial works are at no additional cost to SHG.

It is estimated that the works will take around 6 weeks to complete and during this period the wharf area will be closed to pedestrians and vehicular traffic. Controlled access to the wharf will be granted to emergency vehicles, fisherman, boat owners, yachting visitors and workers at the wharf.

All efforts will be made to reduce disruption to wharf operations during the 6 weeks of work.

The public are thanked in advance for their cooperation during this period.

Notes to Editors

Nicholas O’Dwyer Consulting Engineers were contracted in 2008 to undertake a number of key tasks, which included designing and supervising the Main Works element of the Jamestown Wharf Improvements Project Phase 1.  CAN France was contracted to undertake the construction of these designs, and both contracts are funded from the 9th European Development Fund.

Initial works to replace and repair a number of the concrete slabs laid in 2011/12 began in April 2014.

SHG

21 October 2014

Background

Countries affected by the Ebola virus are Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone. The total number of reported probable, confirmed and suspected cases up to 17th October 2014 is 8,997, with 4,493 deaths.

Three countries, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, currently have high transmission levels. Countries with an initial case/s or with localised transmission are Nigeria and Senegal. Neighbouring countries where transmission may be possible are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’lvoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali and Senegal. Cases have also been identified in the US, Spain and Germany.

The outbreak has an overall fatality rate of 49%and is a very serious illness.

However, the threat of Ebola reaching St Helena or Ascension is extremely low. The measures put in place in the UK and South Africa coupled with the work locally mean that we are well placed to deal with the Ebola threat.

The UK Government has launched a humanitarian effort to help with the outbreak. Both British military and humanitarian staff have arrived in Freetown, Sierra Leone, to oversee the construction of the UK’s medical facility and assist with the response to the outbreak.

Flights to Sierra Leone are transiting through Ascension Island, which is being used as a forward mounting base for the humanitarian operation and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

The Ascension Island Government (AIG) has received assurances from the HQ British Forces South Atlantic that any flights returning to Ascension from Sierra Leone, having delivered personnel or supplies, would present no onward risk when they transit Ascension, as there would be no risk to the aircraft or crew when landing at Freetown. In addition, they have taken appropriate precautionary measures including that the crew remain with aircraft, do not plan a stopover and that they refrain from shaking hands with local population (as directed by World Health Organisation)

Q&A EBOLA

 

  1. How big a threat is Ebola?

 

  • Currently the threat of Ebola reaching St Helena or Ascension is low.
  • There are no reported outbreaks in South Africa, the UK, St Helena or Ascension Island.
  • Our focus is very much on prevention at this time but with good contingency plans also in place.
  • We are consistently reviewing the situation and our response will change in line with the threat.

 

  1. What are St Helena and Ascension Island doing in response?

 

  • St Helena has formed a cross-government Tactical Coordination Group, chaired at Deputy Chief Secretary level which meets regularly to plan for the changing profile of the Ebola threat.  Several stakeholders are involved in this meeting to ensure a coordinated response to the issue.  Ascension is finalising its Ebola response plan and preparing for all contingencies.
  • SHG is working closely with Andrew Weir Shipping to ensure that all passengers on board the RMS are subject to enhanced checks to protect both the RMS and the islands she serves.
  • SHG is also working with Basil Read to ensure that crew on board the NP Glory 4 are subject to the same checks as other visiting vessels to the Island.
  • Additional measures are in place in the harbour and at immigration control in both Ascension and St Helena to ensure that crew of other vessels arriving in our waters are all screened for potential exposure to Ebola.
  • These measures are on top of our regular protocols such as the maritime declaration of health form which is always required from larger visiting vessels.

 

  1. Will Ebola reach St Helena or Ascension Island?

 

  • We believe the preventative measures in place in St Helena and Ascension mean that the risk of Ebola reaching either Island is very remote.
  • The work being done by South Africa, the UK as well as St Helena and Ascension Islands means the risk is reduced still further.
  • If Ebola is reported in any of the countries where the RMS or any other visiting vessel travels from local responses would change and we are prepared for this.

 

  1. What will we do if Ebola does reach St Helena?

 

  • Currently the threat of Ebola reaching St Helena is low.
  • There are no reported outbreaks in South Africa, the UK or Ascension Island.
  • Our focus is very much on prevention at this time but with good contingency planning also in place.
  • Should a case of Ebola be found in St Helena the Health Directorate has a contingency plan and protocols in place to ensure that the community is protected.

 

  1. What will we do if Ebola does reach Ascension Island?

 

  • Currently the threat of Ebola reaching Ascension is low.  The measures the MOD have put in place with regard to the arriving flights from Sierra Leone both in Freetown and locally mean we are confident the risk of any onward transmission is minimal.
  • There are no reported outbreaks in South Africa, the UK or St Helena.
  • Our focus is very much on prevention at this time but with good contingency planning also in place.
  • Should a case of Ebola be found in Ascension the hospital has plans and protocols in place to deal to ensure that the community is protected. AIG is working closely with the UK Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office Ebola Taskforce to prepare for all eventualities.

 

  1. What is the current situation regarding the RMS from Cape Town and what measures are in place to protect the public?

 

  • As part of the Tactical Coordination Groups plan passengers and crew travelling from Cape Town are required to complete screening questionnaires prior embarkation. This covers issues such as travel to high risk countries and if the traveller has a fever.
  • The medical staff on the RMS have been briefed regarding the symptoms and will investigate any concerns
  • Upon arrival at St Helena travellers are asked to inform the immigration officer if they have visited any of the high risk countries in the last 30 days
  • Should the RMS crew have any concerns then the islands Senior Medical Officer is contacted to complete an assessment prior to landing
  • The Tactical Coordination Group are routinely monitoring the process to ensure that it is robust

 

 

  1. There are planes from the infected areas landing at Ascension Island as part of the UK humanitarian effort. Isn’t this a threat to Ascension Island residents?

 

  • As part of the humanitarian operation the UK is sending planes to Sierra Leone via Ascension Island.  The Ministry of Defence has put in place robust preventative measures to ensure their UK staff and others working on, or in, the planes are well protected against any transmission of the disease.
  • The WHO and Public Health England have advised that personnel on these flights do not pose additional risk to warrant any quarantine or isolation measures.
  • Flights arriving at Ascension from Sierra Leone, as part of the humanitarian operation take off and land in controlled conditions in both Ascension and Sierra Leone.  The flight crew who are running shuttles between Ascension and Freetown do not leave the plane at Freetown.
  • While the risk of aircraft crew being infected is extremely remote, appropriate precautionary measures are being taken. Crew remain on the aircraft in Sierra Leone, no stop-overs are planned in Freetown and crew are being asked to refrain from contact with local people.

 

  1. What are SHG and AIG doing to protect the public with regard to flights to Ascension?

 

  • SHG and AIG are coordinating the response to the flights into Ascension.
  • We are working closely with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Ministry of Defence, the Cabinet Office Civil Contingencies Unit and public health England to ensure agreed procedures are being robustly followed and monitored.

 

 

SHG

17October 2014

 

 

 

Careers Fair
Careers Fair

On Wednesday, 15 October 2014, St Helena’s annual Careers Fair was held at Prince Andrew School from 10am-5pm.

More than 20 businesses took part in the Fair with stalls displaying posters, equipment, films, photography slideshows and products relevant to their business type.   Various demonstrations were conducted on the outside court area, including from Tommy, the Police Dog, Buzz, the Drugs dog, and hourly forestry/tractor demonstrations.

Guest speakers were on hand with topics covering Scholarships, Starting up a Business and Training in Languages, to name but a few.

The fair was opened by Work Development Coordinator, Cynthia Bennett:

“Simply this event is to inspire you to learn and to develop – to reach to the top so that you may achieve your goals and make your dreams a reality.”

The day was also marked by the unveiling of the Education Directorate’s new Lifelong Learning logo.  The logo represents the creation of the new Lifelong Learning Service picking up areas originally covered by AVES – apprenticeships and work development, training, distance learning and examinations, City and Guilds Centre, Public Library and childcare coordination.

Careers Fair
Careers Fair

Kerry Yon, Assistant Director Lifelong Learning said:

“The Education and Employment Directorate has always aimed to provide learning opportunities for all ages and at all stages of life and recently, some restructuring took place within the Directorate to bring lifelong learning under one umbrella.

“To everyone here today, we are all learning each day.  Please take advantage of the opportunities on offer, talk to us, find out about the fields that interest you and remember that it is never too late to learn.”

Careers Fair 2
Careers Fair 2

Careers showcased on the day were from Solomon & Company, Connect St Helena, Bank of St Helena Limited, South Atlantic Media Services, Enterprise St Helena, G – Unique, Dalco, ProArc, Essence, Bliss, George Bennett’s Upholstery, SHAPE, Pat’s Clutch & Brake Bonding Services, Penny Savers, St Helena National Trust, Environment & Natural Resources Directorate, Health and Social Services, Corporate Services, Police & Prison, Fire & Rescue, St Helena Audit Service and the Education and Employment Directorate.

Deputy Chairman of the Education Committee, Councillor Nigel Dollery encouraged those present to excel and be proactive in the job they are in, noting that dedication will pay of in the future.

Three pictures are attached with this release.

SHG

16 October 2014

On Monday 6 October 2014 the Agriculture and Natural Resources Division (ANRD) advised the public that the planned Island-wide vaccination programme, for Newcastle Disease in chickens on St Helena, was cancelled. It was found that the vaccines had not been couriered in the right conditions in South Africa and they were therefore unfit for purpose.

SHG reacted quickly to the situation and was able to source an appropriate vaccine from the UK which arrived on-Island on Monday 13 October 2014, with additional supplies due to arrive from South Africa in the near future.

As a result of this a two-phase vaccination programme (alongside a containment programme to remove wild and free-ranging chickens) will commence from Thursday 16 October 2014 to prevent further infection of poultry on St Helena.

The first phase will target the St Paul’s and Half Tree Hollow area where the outbreak currently lies. Due to the high number of chickens in the area this phase is expected to be completed within 3 weeks, providing good owner cooperation is experienced.

The programme will be reassessed after 3 weeks to determine if Phase 2 needs to be fully implemented.

ANRD would like to advise poultry owners that this batch of vaccines require a different application method than the ‘Lasota’ vaccine from South Africa. Chickens must be individually vaccinated which means that the process will be lengthier but the level of protection to individual chickens is higher and will provide cover for the life of the bird.

ANRD will contact poultry owners to advise as and when they will be administering the vaccine in their areas, and would urge owners to be fully cooperative and responsible for having their chickens ready for vaccination. Vaccinating chickens not only protects poultry owner’s flocks but stopping the spread of the disease is vital to the Island as a whole. Without cooperation and owners taking responsibility the consequences are dire for St Helena.

The programme will be monitored and a Tactical Coordination Group, chaired at Assistant Chief Secretary level, is monitoring the situation. The vaccination programme will demand the time of the ANRD team and during this period the public are asked that all queries related to Newcastle Disease be directed to the Emergency Planner, Alistair Smith, on tel: 22721.

ANRD would like to extend their thanks to poultry owners who have cooperated thus far, experts in the UK for their support and guidance on this vaccination programme, Basil Read for logistical support, colleagues on Ascension Island and the crew and Captain of the RMS for the safe arrival of the vaccines.

Although queries have been raised that Newcastle Disease has spread to the pig population on St Helena the UK advice and literature currently available to us regarding Newcastle Disease does not indicate any known cases of Newcastle Disease spreading to pigs or other livestock.

ADVICE TO POULTRY OWNERS

 

  1. Do I have to be involved in the vaccination programme?

 

  1. Stopping the spread of the disease is an Island issue and we want people to be as fully cooperative and responsible as possible.

 

Q. How quickly does the vaccination give protection from Newcastle Disease?

 

  1. It takes the chicken 7 to 10 days to develop immunity and it is vulnerable to infection during this period. So you still need to follow the simple measures already contained in earlier information from SHG on the disease to prevent infection and spread, and to protect your flock.

 

  1. How does the vaccination affect chickens?

 

  1. There may be a drop in egg production for a few weeks. The poultry may also be a little poorly for a few days while they develop immunity. They will return to their normal state in a couple of weeks.

 

  1. How soon can I eat eggs from vaccinated poultry?

 

  1. The egg shell may change colour, from brown to white. However, there is no withdrawal period and eggs can be safely consumed immediately following vaccination.

 

  1. How soon can I slaughter and eat poultry after vaccination?

 

  1. There is no withdrawal period, poultry can be slaughtered and eaten immediately after vaccination.

 

  1. Should poultry be vaccinated with the new vaccines if they have already had the ‘LaSota’ vaccine?

 

  1. Yes, this will give added protection.

 

  1. Will they need revaccination in the future?

 

A. No, this vaccination will last their lives once they have developed immunity, which takes 7 to 10 days.

 

SHG

15 October 2014

Planting
Planting

The Landscape and Ecology Mitigation Programme (LEMP) provides compensatory habitats for the ones lost due to the airport construction and works to secure the future of St Helena’s unique flora and fauna. LEMP, in collaboration with Basil Read and the EMD conservation nursery in Scotland, has now started its planting activities on the airport site, with endemic babies’ toes (Hydrodea cryptantha) and scrubwoods (Commidendrum rugosum).

As part of preparation for construction activities on the north-west side of the runway, Basil Read and the LEMP team have now transplanted hundreds of endemic babies’ toes to the terraces nearby. Babies’ toes is an annual plant species that will die during the dry summer period but will come up from seeds after next winter rains. It will hopefully establish a self-sustaining population on the terraces in future.

On 9 October 2014 the LEMP team consisting of Mikko Paajanen, Belinda Thomas, Kurt Plato and Brandon O’Bey carried out the first plantings of endemic scrubwoods between Prosperous Bay Plain and King and Queen Rocks. Plants were provided by the Environment and Natural Resources Department’s conservation Nursery at Scotland.  

LEMP Ecologist Mikko Paajanen, said:

“This area was chosen to give a boost to the original population where most of the scrubwood seed for the airport site rehabilitation comes from. Planting of the babies’ toes and scrubwoods is a good start for our huge task of rehabilitation on the areas affected by the airport construction.”

SHG

14 October 2014

Executive Council met today, Tuesday 14 October 2014, to discuss two items on the Open Agenda.

The first item was an Application for Outline Development Permission for the proposed Solar Farm at the current site of the rifle range at Half Tree Hollow. ExCo was pleased to approve the proposal but wished to highlight the need to continue, until fruition, the relocation of the rifle range.

The second item requested the discharge of Condition 1 pursuant to Development Permission for the Rupert’s Wharf – Rockfall Assessment. ExCo was of the opinion that an informed decision is difficult at this time and the suggestion was that this be deferred until the completion of a site visit to enable full exploration of potential implications.

The meeting ended at 10.20am.

ExCo

14 October 2014