Stedson Francis with his BEM
Stedson Francis with his BEM

At a special dinner, hosted by HE Governor Capes last evening (4 November 2014), Stedson Graham Francis of Thompsons Wood was formally presented with his British Empire Medal (BEM), awarded to him under HM Queen’s Birthday Honours in June of this year.

The BEM was awarded to Stedson for his valued contribution to the community of St Helena.  Stedson was a voluntary producer for Radio St Helena for some 43 years, until its closure in December 2012, during which time he provided much welcomed entertainment to his many listeners around the Island.

Stedson has also served as Chairman of the Blue Hill Community Centre Association for some 25 years, one of the few community centres which have continued to function continuously during that period of time.

He has also worked with a number of NGOs concerned with farming activities since 1984, such as the Beekeepers Association, Farmers Association, St Helena Growers Cooperative Society and the Man & Horse and Blue Hill Cattle Syndicates.  In addition, Stedson has served as a member of the Chamber of Commerce.

The award also recognised Stedson’s service as a Member of the Legislative Council for a period of 12 years from 2001-2013, during which time he served on Executive Council for 4 years.

Governor Capes remarked:

“Occasions such as this I really enjoy as we celebrate a valuable contribution to St Helena.  Stedson’s service to his community in Blue Hill and his voluntary support for radio, bringing music and entertainment to St Helena for more than 40 years, is outstanding.

Stedson Francis and his Mum Lucy
Stedson Francis and his Mum Lucy

“Always a popular figure, Stedson was a Councillor for quite a few years and it was my privilege to work with him on Executive Council when I first arrived. On behalf of HM The Queen, it is indeed a pleasure this evening to present Stedson with the British Empire Medal.”

Stedson added:

“I am really honoured to have received this award and I thank Governor Capes for providing this opportunity to have my family and friends to share this special occasion with me.

“I did what I did because I enjoyed doing it. Serving on the Blue Hill Community Centre Association was a team effort and if I have given people some entertainment and enjoyment over the years via the radio and they felt it worthy of me to have received this award then I am indeed humbled and grateful to receive it, and thank you all for sharing this with me.”

The British Empire Medal was reintroduced in 2012 and rewards a sustained, local contribution or innovative, high-impact work of a relatively short duration and honours continuous service to the community.

Two photos are attached.

SHG

5 November 2014 

LEMP 1
LEMP 1

The Landscape & Ecology Mitigation Programme (LEMP), part of St Helena Government’s Airport Project, is progressing well, with new staff recruitments, facilities and plants.

Amongst its many areas of work, the LEMP team is tasked with regenerating all temporarily disturbed ground caused by the construction of the Airport, in conjunction with Basil Read, and with providing compensatory habitat for all lands permanently lost.

There are now 8 people directly employed on Island by the LEMP carrying out ecological surveys, collecting seeds from the wild, growing plants, and carrying out habitat restoration activities throughout the Airport Development Area. The LEMP is also partnered by AECOM, a UK based consultancy which has been involved with the Airport Project for several years. AECOM is currently creating draft landscape designs which will be assessed by LEMP staff and public stakeholders and refined during an on-Island visit by staff later this month.

To be able to grow the tens of thousands of plants required, the LEMP has reinvigorated the old training centre below the Rock Club in Half Tree Hollow into the LEMP Tree Nursery where the majority of plants will be grown.

LEMP 2
LEMP 2

LEMP Project Manager, Ross Towers, explains:

“There has been weeks of hard work put in to remove several years’ worth of weed growth, to repair derelict buildings, and to kit the facility out to be able to produce the plants we will need over the next few years. The team has worked very hard to get the place up to scratch.”

Species currently being grown for conservation rehabilitation efforts include native and endemic species such as samphire, ebony, scrubwood and fishbone grass. There are also plants for residential areas such as flamboyant for Rupert’s Valley being grown.  Residents from Rupert’s, Deadwood and Bottom Woods are being asked whether there are any particular plants they would like to see in their district.

For more information on the LEMP or to pass on your ideas, contact Ross Towers, LEMP Project Manager, on 22721 at the Air Access Office, Second Floor Post Office, Jamestown, or by email: ross-towers@sainthelena.gov.sh.

 

SHG

4 November 2014

 

 

 

St Helena Government is in the process of creating a new Safeguarding Directorate. The purpose of the Safeguarding Directorate isTo protect and safeguard vulnerable children, young people and adults at risk or suffering from abuse.

From 1 December 2014 the new Safeguarding Directorate will assume social services and safeguarding functions from the Health and Social Services Directorate, and further develop social services on the Island.

Assistant Chief Secretary (Performance), Paul McGinnety said:

“The current Health and Social Services Directorate has a wide range of statutory and specialist functions that impact on the lives of vulnerable people on the Island. Although health and social services are intrinsically linked it is uncommon for the functions to sit under one part of an organisation.

“To ensure that the right support, leadership and service delivery are obtained from both functions a separate Safeguarding Directorate is being developed to focus purely on social services and safeguarding which will allow the health functions to be managed separately.”

Social Services staff, including those based at Barn View, CBU and the Family Centre, will form part of the new Safeguarding Directorate from 1 December. The CCC and Older Persons Services will transfer to the new Directorate by the end of the financial year.

The Directorate will be led by an experienced Social Care Manager and will be supported by local and overseas dedicated staff as well as final year Social Work students from the UK. The Directorate will be committed to developing staff and the new arrangements will see local staff accessing UK training and exposure.

Day-to-day roles and responsibilities of current staff will initially remain the same while the new Directorate takes shape. In the short term staff will remain in the existing buildings, although new buildings are being constructed in Half Tree Hollow to provide new accommodation for Sundale residents and possibly other elements of Safeguarding.

SHG

3 November 2014

Talented professionals and public servants from St Helena are reminded that they have 12 days left to apply for a scholarship award under the UK’s flagship Chevening programme, funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

A Chevening Scholarship offers financial support for a Master’s level degree at one of the UK’s leading universities, beginning September 2015. They are awarded to outstanding individuals with leadership potential.

Awards may also be considered for other courses of a minimum of 3 months duration.

Those interested in applying should read the online guidance and be able to demonstrate how they meet the Chevening selection criteria before submitting an application.

Applications should be made online at www.chevening.org/apply

The deadline for applications is Saturday 15 November 2014.

To be eligible for a Chevening Scholarship, you must:

 

  • Be a citizen of a Chevening-eligible country, and intend to return there after your studies
  • Hold a degree that is equivalent to at least an upper second-class honours degree in the UK
  • Have completed at least two years’ work or equivalent experience before applying for a Chevening Scholarship
  • Be able to meet the Chevening minimum English language requirement
  • Be able to obtain the correct visa, and receive an unconditional offer from a UK university

The Chevening team are particularly interested to hear from applicants from St Helena who wish to study areas that will benefit the Island’s three national goals.

A Chevening Scholarship usually offers tuition fees, a monthly stipend, travel to and from your country, and a thesis or dissertation grant.

Follow the St Helena Government Facebook page for regular updates on the Chevening programme.

SHG

3 November 2014

The St Helena National Trust in association with the Darwin Project, is launching an Environmental Education Pack on Tuesday 4 November 2014 at the Canister, commencing at 5pm.  The focus of the pack is ‘increasing local capacity to conserve St Helena’s threatened biodiversity’.

The Environmental Education Pack is part of an initiative from the Community Forest Project School’s Officer, Martina Peters.  Martina recently attended Forest School training in the UK along with St Paul’s Primary School Teacher, Sheena Isaac. An Environmental Education Pack has since been developed for use in schools and at Forest School sites – Blue Hill School and the Millennium Forest.

If you are interested in what your child will be learning, want to know how St Helena National Trust has contributed towards progressing education on the Island and how the National Trust is going to build on what they have created, then come along to the launching of St Helena’s Environmental Education Pack.

SHG

3 November 2014

Remembrance Day is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth Countries each year, on 11 November, to remember those of the Armed Forces who have died in their line of duty since the First World War.

On St Helena, Remembrance Day is commemorated with a special service at the Cenotaph in Jamestown. This year the Remembrance Day Service will be held on Sunday 9 November 2014.

Members of the public attending the ceremony on Sunday should be present at the Cenotaph by 10.40am. Acting Governor, Mr Sean Burns and Mrs Burns, will arrive at 10.55am and the ceremony will begin promptly at 11am with a 2 minute silence.  The service will continue, followed by the laying of wreaths.

The end of the service will be marked with the marching of uniformed contingents from the Cenotaph onto the Grand Parade for the salute from the Acting Governor and Acting Director of Police on the Court House steps.

SHG

3 November 2014

 

The public is reminded that construction work will commence at the Wharf from 1 November 2014.

The wharf will be closed to pedestrians and vehicular traffic between the hours of 16.00 & 08.30 Monday to Friday and from 16.00 Friday to 08.30 Monday. There will be controlled access to authorised vehicles, and a barrier will be in place at the start of the construction works, adjacent to the Freight Terminal.

Authorised users will be able to drop off/pick up equipment (e.g. diving equipment, fishing tackle etc) at the lower steps – before returning their vehicle to the area beyond the barrier. No vehicle at any time can be left parked on the Wharf between the construction site and the landing steps – this area will need to be kept clear in the event of an emergency.

Port management would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in advance for their continued co – operation.

SHG

28 October 2014

Executive Council met today, Tuesday 28 October 2014, to discuss five items on the Open Agenda.

The first item was the appointment of a Secretary to the Electronic Communications Consultative Committee (ECCC). This paper discussed the appointment of the Socio-Economist as Secretary to the ECCC in replacement of the Government Economist. This was seen as a sensible change due to the amount of work currently being undertaken by the Socio-Economist with regards to the social implications of on-Island communications.

The second item proposed an amendment to the Eliza Mary Lloyd Trust Ordinance to change the way that Trustees are appointed.  This Trust helps fund agricultural training and production on a small estate at Harpers. Currently the Economic Development Committee (EDC) Members with responsibility for agricultural issues would have naturally assumed positions as Trustees. The change will see the new process for appointments as Trustees to be made by the Governor and not simply by inheriting such a role based on becoming a member of the EDC. This change does not affect the continuance of the current use of the Harper’s Estate and brings this Trust in line with other Trusts in operation on the Island.

The third and fourth items were combined as they were inter-related, one dealing with Police Service regulations and the other the Ordinance entitled Police Service (Amendment) Bill.  External reports have previously recommended that the Police Force Ordinance and Regulations be reviewed to bring them in line with current practice and, in particular, current human resources practice.

The final item on the Open Agenda was the Coroners and Presumption of Death Bill. The Chief Magistrate gave a detailed report of the implications of the Bill where every death on the Island will be reported to the Coroner to consider whether there was a need for investigation, with the emphasis on learning lessons as opposed to apportioning blame, which would remain the responsibility of the Supreme Court procedure. This was seen as helping to develop best practice with the recording of medical records and would allow for estates related issues to be resolved quicker.

All of the Bills will be presented as Government Business at the next formal Legislative Council meeting.

Under Any Other Business the Governor thanked the two Acting Members of Executive Council, Hon Brian Isaac and Hon Nigel Dollery, for attending ExCo during the absence of substantive Members, Hon Christine Scipio O’Dean and Hon Ian Rummery, who will shortly return from overseas trips. Governor Capes also announced that he would be leaving the Island on 6 November 2014 to attend the forthcoming Joint Ministerial Council, which will also be attended by Councillor Lawson Henry, and to take some leave. Governor Capes will return on 3 January 2015, in time to welcome yachts competing in the Governor’s Cup Yacht Race.

A very positive meeting ended at 10.20am.

ExCo

28 October 2014

HE Governor Capes will depart the Island on Thursday 6 November 2014 to attend the annual Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) in London from 1- 4 December.  The JMC is attended by elected leaders from the Overseas Territories, Governors and UK Ministers and officials. Councillor Lawson Henry will attend the JMC as St Helena’s elected representative and have bilateral meetings with FCO and DFID Ministers.

Following the JMC Governor Capes will be involved in various other business meetings and then take some leave before returning to the Island on 3 January 2015.

During the period Governor Capes is away Head of the Governor’s Office, Mr Sean Burns, will serve as Acting Governor.

SHG

28 October 2014

 

FIRST PHASE OF VACCINATION PROGRAMME COMPLETE

SHG is pleased to advise that the first phase of the vaccination programme for Newcastle Disease, in Chickens on St Helena, has been completed ahead of schedule.

The programme, to prevent further infection of poultry on the Island, commenced on Thursday, 16 October 2014, and has seen 848 chickens vaccinated in the St Paul’s and Half Tree Hollow area. No new cases of the disease have been reported and there are no links to wild birds or other livestock.

Head of ANRD, Darren Duncan said:

“Completing the vaccination programme in the time we did would never have been possible without the amazing effort of ANRD staff and cooperation from poultry owners in Half Tree Hollow and St Paul’s.

“Without this cooperation the consequences for the Island’s poultry could have been dire and now that we have managed to contain the spread of the disease, since the initial outbreak in mid-August 2014, we need to continue our efforts as a community to contain it.”

A containment programme to remove feral and free-ranging chickens will continue and the public are encouraged to contact ANRD if they know of any feral chickens near their properties. Poultry owners who haven’t contacted the division regarding their stock should also do so as soon as possible.

ANRD now also has an increased stock of the ‘Lasota’ vaccine which arrived on the NP Glory 4 and a further stock is being brought in when the RMS arrives on Wednesday 29 October 2014.

Progression of Phase 2 (Island-wide vaccination) is being looked at and will continue on the advice of the Senior Veterinary Officer, Joe Hollins, when he arrives on Wednesday. Details will be released as soon as a best way forward has been agreed.

The first two properties of the initial outbreak were released from quarantine on Wednesday 22 October 2014. However SHG would like to stress that while the vaccination programme has been successful thus far the Island’s poultry is still not free from this disease and the public are asked to continue to adhere to the simple measures below:

  • Set up a footbath such as a bucket or washing up bowl filled with disinfectant or bleach at the entrance to the coop. Dip your feet on the way in and on the way out to create a barrier to germs.
  • Wherever practical, keep your chickens inside the coop. Even if your set-up means you are unable to do this, keep all feed and water inside the coop.
  • Do your best to exclude wild birds by blocking holes and using netting, and remove any spilled feed that could attract wild birds.
  • Have a dedicated set of boots and overalls for your chicken coop which never leaves your property.
  • Wash your hands after visiting the chickens.
  • Discourage visitors to your coop and avoid visiting chickens at other premises.

Please report any unusual poultry deaths or symptoms to the Veterinary Service at ANRD on tel. 24724.

SHG

27 October 2014