Executive Council met today Tuesday 1 April to consider six items on the Open Agenda.

The first two items related to Government Landlord Housing – dealing with the sale of existing Landlord houses to tenants and the introduction of a new Housing Register and Allocations policy. Both papers had previously been before Executive Council and were taken back to the Social & Community Development Committee for further detailed work. Executive Council was pleased to agree both papers, and further details will be made available to those affected.

The third item was a request for a Variation Order relating to removal of land from the National Forest – in order to facilitate the relocation of the Fire Station. This issue had gone out for public consultation and no adverse comments were received. Therefore Executive Council endorsed the recommendation which allows for development permission now to be sought for the construction of the new Fire Station.

The next item was an Amendment to the Animal Diseases Regulations. Following the recent outbreak of Avian Cholera, it was noted that when these Regulations were last amended a Schedule had been omitted. A new section was also required to give the Agriculture Authority the power to establish temporary Quarantine areas. Executive Council agreed to the required Amendments.

The final two items on the Open Agenda were information papers on the Undertakings and Resolutions made at the two previous formal Legislative Council sessions. These will be tracked to ensure that appropriate actions are undertaken.

On the closed agenda there was a long and informative discussion on the issue of backyard slaughtering, which will be continued when further information has been gathered. 

The meeting ended at 1.15pm.

ExCo

1 April 2014

Honey Confiscations
Honey Confiscations

On 13March 2014 around 10kgs of honey in 23 containers and over 40kgs of assorted seeds, dried leaves, raw spices and untreated wooden artefacts were incinerated in Ruperts Valley. These are all items which have been confiscated by Customs officials from passengers and residents arriving on St Helena over the past few months – as presenting an unacceptable biosecurity risk to the Island.

St Helena has one of the last disease-free bee populations in the world, making our bees increasingly unique but very vulnerable. Honey is unprocessed and so can carry viruses, bacteria and fungal diseases to the Island, which might threaten our bee populations. Seeds, dried leaves, untreated wood and spices which don’t come from commercial suppliers can all carry harmful crop and forestry pests and diseases. Seeds are particularly risky as potentially they can germinate and become weeds.

Confiscated items are placed in the incinerator when the temperature reaches 600°C and remain there for 2 hours, after which they are reduced to ash. The temperature can climb as high as 1200°C.

Incinerations
Incinerations

Joe Hollins, Senior Veterinary Officer, commented:

“St Helena possesses one of the last disease free bee populations in the world, a resource to be treasured and protected.  Bees are responsible for pollinating something like 25% of the fruit and vegetables consumed by man. Most of the continental land masses are now infested with a range of bee diseases, so I ask everyone to spread the word – please don’t put our bees at risk.”

The incineration was carried out in the presence of Biosecurity Officers and formally witnessed by a Customs official.

Two photographs accompany this release.

SHG

1 April 2014

 

Open to the Public from 11.30am

Executive Council will meet today Tuesday 1 April 2014 in the Council Chamber.

Starting at 11.30am, the meeting will be open to the public for the following Open Agenda items:

  • Sale of Government Landlord Housing
  • Introduction of a new Housing Register and Allocations Policy
  • Request for variation of Order relating to the constitution of land as National Forest, in order to remove land from National Forest to facilitate relocation of Fire Station
  • Animal (Diseases) (Amendment) Regulations 2014
  • Undertakings and Resolutions made at the Formal Meeting of Legislative Council held on 14 February 2014
  • Undertakings and Resolutions made at the Formal Meeting of Legislative Council held on 21 and 24 March 2014

 

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

 

SHG

1 April 2014 

 

 

Jude Ragan
Jude Ragan

 

Jude Ragan (OBE) arrives on Island on 7 April for a month to provide advice to the Education Directorate on Autistic Spectrum Disorders.

Jude, Headteacher of Queensmill Special School in London commented:

“I am very excited about my forthcoming visit to St Helena and the project with staff on the Island.  I hope that it is the beginning of a long and fruitful association between the autism provision on the Island and the work of Queensmill School in London – and that we continue to link both remotely and through visits to develop the important work we all do with children with autism spectrum disorders.”

Director of Education and Employment, Colin Moore said:

“This is a very important visit to the Island and I am delighted that we were able to secure the services of Jude.  Autism is a very complex condition and our hardworking staff are very much looking forward to having the opportunity to learn at first hand from such an experienced educationalist.  For the majority of the time that Jude will be with us, she will be based at Prince Andrew School.

“I am grateful to the Governors of Queensmill for releasing Jude so that she can spend time with us.  I do hope that this visit signals the start of an enduring relationship between ourselves and Queensmill School.”

Jude – an experienced and well known educationalist in the field of Special Needs – is Headteacher of Queensmill School in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.  Queensmill is a specialist school for children and young people with Autistic Spectrum Disorders.  The school is rated as an outstanding school by Ofsted, the English Schools Inspectorate.  In 2010, Jude Ragan was awarded an OBE for her work in Special Education.   

Symptoms of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) vary from one child to the next, but in general, they fall into two areas:

  • Social impairment, including difficulties with social communication and
  • Repetitive and stereotyped behaviors.

One photograph accompanies this release.

 

SHG

31 March 2014

Basil Read workers assembling new plant in upper Ruperts Valley, have discovered the remains of three very large dark brown beetles among materials packed on an open trailer. The beetles are more than twice as long as a 1 penny piece, broad and distinctly flattened with long wings.

The beetles were promptly reported to the Agriculture and Natural Resources Division (ANRD) and passed onto David Pryce at the St Helena National Trust – who identified them as Giant Flattened Dung Beetles, Pachylomera femoralis. This is a first recording for St Helena.

Active by day, adult giant flattened dung beetles burrow beside fresh dung of various mammals for feeding, as well as rolling away balls of dung to brood their young.  They are attracted to a wide range of dung types, carrion and fermenting fruit. Their native distribution is wide, from South Africa up to the Congo.

Basil Read has mapped the trailer on which they arrived from it’s origin in Port Elizabeth up through South Africa and into Walvis Bay in Namibia. These beetles are believed to be attracted to lights and they probably fell into the open trailer while it was parked under security lights at some point.

Ravi Michael, Logistics Manager for Basil Read on St Helena said:

When rare incidents like this occur, it is crucial that the chain of events is investigated as swiftly as possible – in order to pinpoint the loophole and identify specific corrective and preventative actions that will avoid re-occurrence. The matter was dealt with at an impressive speed, and in a matter of hours the BR team on- and off – Island were working together to resolve the matter.”

If anyone sees any other dung beetles – please call Rosie Peters or Jill Key at ANRD on 24724.

SHG

28 March 2014

 

Further to the Directive on 2014/15 Electricity and Water Tariffs issued by the St Helena Utilities Regulatory Authority on 17 March 2014, Connect Saint Helena Ltd has today published the final utility Tariffs for 2014-15, commencing 1 April 2014.  These rates will be published in full in next week’s media, but anyone requiring a copy earlier can either visit Connect’s Seales Corner offices or request a copy by email to callie.leo@connect.co.sh

The delay in publishing the final Tariffs was due to ongoing discussions with St Helena Government regarding the level of subsidy to be provided. The outcome of these discussions, approved by Executive Council this morning, is that a joint funding solution (between SHG and Connect) has been agreed, which will see the level of subsidy increased.  ExCo gave its undertaking to provide additional support to Connect Saint Helena Ltd during the Financial Year 2014-15.  This means that the proposed increases for standing and usage charges for electricity, water and drainage are now reduced from the proposed figures in the Directive (roughly 10%) to approximately 5%.  Councillors were pleased with this outcome.

Quarter 1 bills will estimate readings at 1 April 2014, but customers are invited to make a note of their own meter readings (on 1 April) and either email to angela.scipio@connect.co.uk or alison.wade@connect.co.sh – or advise by telephone on 22341 or 22255 within two weeks of this date, to enable bills to be prepared based on actual readings.  Customers should quote their Customer Number or name and address when doing so.

Please find attached Connect Saint Helena Ltd’s Electricity, Water and Drainage Tariffs, commencing 1 April 2014. 

SHG & Connect Saint Helena Ltd

28 March 2014

 

 

 The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has purchased a replacement flag car for the Governor.  At no cost to SHG, the silver Jaguar XF replaces the present vehicle, which is now over four years old. 

As the profile of St Helena continues to grow, and with the Airport opening in early 2016, more VIP visitors are expected to visit, making it more important that the Governor should have a reliable representational vehicle. 

The new car is due to arrive on the RMS on Monday 31 March. The old Jaguar will be retained by SHG as a back-up vehicle for Plantation House and for occasional use by important visiting figures such as the Chief Justice.

SHG

28 March 2014

It was announced on Wednesday 26 March that an isolated outbreak of the serious bird disease, Fowl Cholera, had been diagnosed in the flock of ducks at Farm Lodge, St Paul’s, St Helena.  This disease affects only birds – particularly and most seriously domestic flocks, where it is normally fatal.

Today ANRD has reported that the Veterinary Service has humanely destroyed (by lethal injection) all 75 remaining ducks on the property, and believe all have been accounted for. 

Carcasses were taken to Rupert’s after being double-bagged, sealed, and disinfected and have already been incinerated. Public Health assisted greatly in providing the bags and access to, and operation of, the incinerator.

Foot baths have been set up on the property and permits to enter the Quarantine area are in place (with specific conditions attached) for a small group of persons allowed on and off the site. Gateways have been taped off and the property zoned for movements by permit holders.

Steve and Maureen of Farm Lodge have been very cooperative, and Farm Lodge remains under Quarantine and is being monitored daily by the Senior Veterinary Officer.

No business will be conducted at Farm Lodge during the period that the property is designated a Quarantine area.

For further information please contact the Senior Veterinary Officer Joe Hollins, or in his absence, Head of ANRD Darren Duncan on telephone 24724.

SHG

28 March 2014

An isolated outbreak of the serious bird disease, Fowl Cholera, has been diagnosed in the flock of ducks at Farm Lodge, St Paul’s, St Helena.  This disease affects only birds – particularly and most seriously domestic flocks, where it is highly fatal. This disease is not considered by the World Organisation for Animal Health (The OIE) to be a threat to the vast majority of humans.

A Quarantine Order has today been put in place by ANRD which imposes movement restrictions in and out of the Farm Lodge property, designed to confine the disease and minimise the risk of its transfer (see Extraordinary Gazette, including a map of the affected area, on the SHG website at http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/EX-GAZ-No-18-2014-Quarantine.pdf), The Quarantine Order, made under Regulation 13(1) of the Animals (Diseases) Regulations – will initially be set for 4 weeks. Notices will today be posted at the premises and disinfectant points established.

The flock of ducks will be humanely destroyed and incinerated on site, supervised by the Senior Veterinary Officer Joe Hollins – who has confirmed the diagnosis through post-mortem examination and microscopic analysis. The Senior Veterinary Officer believes that this disease has most likely been on St Helena for many years (carried by the wild bird population), but has not previously been diagnosed.  

Enquiries can be made to the Senior Veterinary Officer at ANRD on telephone no. 24724 or email: joe-hollins@enrd.gov.sh

 

SHG

26 March 2014

 

Joyce Duncan
Joyce Duncan

St Helena’s National Vocational Quality (NVQ) Assurance Coordinator Joyce Duncan (photo attached) is soon to embark on a period of training in the UK.

As the NVQ Quality Assurance Coordinator, Joyce is responsible for managing the approved City & Guilds Centre on St Helena for the delivery of internationally recognised Vocationally Related Qualifications (VRQs) and National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs). Joyce as operational manager of the internal quality assurance function, monitors the service provided on St Helena to ensure it consistently meets specified UK National Occupational Standards. To ensure Joyce is able to do this effectively she will depart the Island on Tuesday 8 April 2014 for an exposure visit and period of overseas training in the UK.

Joyce will be visiting various NVQ Centres including those in Cardiff and in Colwyn Bay in Wales.

This visit will see Joyce meet with the Regional Centre’s team and other Quality Assurance Coordinators, Assessors and Internal Quality Assurers to discuss and compare practices. Joyce will also be participating in events that will enable her to enhance her skills and learn how other NVQ Centres are managed in the UK.

Joyce will also be attending Cardiff Vale College to look at the delivery of their Construction Programme and how this could be adapted for the Apprenticeship scheme on St Helena. She will also undertake training with the Quality Assurance Coordinator from the Falkland Island’s Government Office in Westminster London.

Joyce said:

“This training and exposure visit is very important as I will be able to upskill my team of Assessors and Internal Quality Assurers on St Helena while also developing myself in the management of the Centre in relation to quality assurance and training .

“Being isolated on St Helena is a challenge and I am looking forward to the training and exposure so as to be able to gauge whether I am on par with other centres. It will be great to meet with other Quality Assurance Coordinators, Assessors and Internal Quality Assurance Coordinators to share ideas and experiences which I can then bring back to St Helena to further develop my team.”

Colin Moore, Director of Education said

“Joyce is an exceptionally dedicated professional who runs an excellent centre here on St Helena. This visit will enable Joyce to keep up to date with the ever-changing world of vocational qualifications and assessments. We all wish the very best for her UK visit and look forward to seeing her back here in June.”

The St Helena NVQ Centre offers qualifications for:

Level 2/3 Diploma/Certificates in Business & Administration, Customer Service, Health & Social Care, Hospitality & Catering, Level 1 Land-based studies, Level 2 Crop Production, Level 2 Environmental Conservation, Levels 3 & 4 Training, Assessment and Quality Assurance (TAQA) qualifications.

Vocationally Related Qualifications offered at Prince Andrew School are for Levels 1 & 2 in Automotive, Level 1 in Construction, and Entry 3/Level 1 in Hospitality & Catering.

SHG

25 March 2014