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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
“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.
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.”
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).
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.
‘School Spruce’ is a community based project aimed at visually and physically improving St Helena’s three primary schools, and began in August 2013.
St Paul’s Primary School began their physical work in November 2013, building the Early Year’s playground. Parents, children and volunteers worked on consecutive weekends, sanding, cleaning, and painting equipment for the playground. Endemics were also planted, providing the school with its own local ‘endemic forest’.
A School Spruce film featuring St Paul’s efforts will be shown on Local TV 1 at:
6pm Thursday 16 January
6:50pm Friday 17 January
6pm Saturday 18 January
6pm Sunday 19 January
The film shows the progress and the work of volunteers to improve facilities for children on the Island.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) would like to advise the public that a formal session of the PAC will be held on Monday 10 February 2014 at 9am in the Court House, Jamestown. The public are welcome to attend.
The agenda and further details will be issued in due course.
Currently on Island and working with the Offender Management Team at the St Helena Prison is Dr Tim McInerny (photo attached).
Arriving on Saturday 11 January 2014, Dr McInerny is on Island for a week assisting the Offender Management Team in trying to provide the very best quality rehabilitation for serious offenders at the Prison, to ensure a safer St Helena community.
Prior to visiting St Helena, Dr McInerny consulted remotely with Probation Officer Victoria Kellet, and other members of the team here. This included completing assessments, via video link, with some prisoners. While on Island, Dr McInerny will be further assessing prisoners, providing advice on offender management and also providing training to the local team on how better to understand risk and mitigation. He has already met with the prisoners and will be making further recommendations as the week progresses.
Commenting on current offender management work here, Dr McInerny said:
“I’m generally very impressed by what is being achieved here. I’m also aware of the new Prison and the work that will hopefully start in the next few months. I’m also impressed by the commitment from the team in their treatment plans and the considerable work that is going on already to ensure the best safety for the public on the Island.”
“The Prison Service is doing a lot of good work despite limited resources. Every professional working here is quite isolated and I think it’s really helpful to have my support to help them improve their expertise and to really try and get the best outcomes. I have been a visiting Psychiatrist to the Falkland Islands for thirteen years so I know a lot about the challenges facing a small community in terms of both risk and mental health – and also the need to develop programmes that take into account a small community, the feelings of the community and what practical resources are available.”
This is Dr McInerny’s first visit to the Island, working with the Offender Management Team to see what the resources are like and understand the challenges faced by the team. Once he leaves the Island, Dr McInerny will support St Helena via regular telephone, email and video links.
“The journey to the Island is currently long and expensive – so supporting the team via telephone, email and video links will ensure prompt and immediate support and immediate assessment of both people who are charged and also those who have been convicted.”
Dr McInerny is a Psychiatrist but first trained as a Doctor before studying Psychiatry and then Criminal Psychiatry. In the UK, Dr McInerny works with offenders with mental health problems. He worked for nine years in maximum security Hospital, Broadmoor, but for the last six years has been working in a low security Hospital in London helping offenders get ready for a return back into the community, helping to ensure this goes successfully and that the public are safe.
Dr McInerny departs the Island on Saturday 18 January 2014.