PUBLIC MEETING

Connect Saint Helena Ltd is currently seeking outline planning permission for the development of a Solar Farm at Half Tree Hollow, around the current Rifle Range site – which when fully developed could supply up to 40% of the Island’s electricity demand.

Residents, stakeholders and other interested parties are invited to a public meeting to discuss the plans with Connect Saint Helena Ltd, SHG officials and Councillors.  The meeting will take place on Monday  22 September at 7.30pm at the Rock Club, Half Tree Hollow.   

Currently, approximately 20% of St Helena’s energy comes from wind power, with the remaining 80% from diesel generation. Decreasing the use of diesel and increasing the use of natural sources of energy will benefit St Helena’s economy and reduce our dependency on imported diesel.

SHG

17 September 2014

 

CONSULTANT’S REPORT PUBLISHED

Public transport consultant George Watson has now finalised his report on bus services on St Helena, which has today been published on the SHG website Publications page at http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/publications/

The online report is a slightly redacted version of the full report – omitting just a small amount of commercially sensitive information which could influence forthcoming tender exercises.

SHG accepts the various recommendations made in the report and will now take them forward, with a view to tendering for a more integrated public transport service within the next six months. Increasing prosperity on the Island can only bring more pressure on the highway system, so it is important that a progressive policy is developed that aims to address capacity issues.

Improvements considered include simplification of the timetable, additional journeys, a quantum change in promotional activity and bringing the coordinating role together in one locally recruited SHG post.

Assistant Chief Secretary (Support) Gillian Francis said:

“SHG’s aspiration is to have an efficient and effective public transport service, that will meet the needs of Saints and visitors alike, supporting both social and economic development.

“Although modest improvements have been made since the introduction of revised services two years ago following public comments and operational experience – there is room for further improvements.”

John Scipio will be working with SHG officials on a part time basis taking the recommendations forward in time for the retendering exercise in 2015.

SHG

16 September 2014

Executive Council met today Tuesday 16 September 2014 with five items on the Open Agenda.

The first item was a request for Executive Council to endorse the refreshed Sustainable Development Plan 2014-17 (SDP).  The original SDP was published in 2012, and since then the Island has seen significant development which the refreshed SDP now reflects.

This SDP is a slimmer and more focussed version, primarily reflecting the Island’s commitment to deliver increased economic growth. Executive Council was pleased to endorse the plan and thanked all who worked hard to produce this new version. It is now available on the SHG website at http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/publications/

The second item on the Open Agenda was the relocation and rationalisation of SHG office accommodation. In summary, the agreed relocations were:

  • The Police Service would move from the Grand Parade to the Adult & Vocational Education Centre (AVEC). The AVEC building will be adapted and refurbished for the Police. There will also be a Police reception and an Out of Hours office located at the Castle.
  • The AVEC IT Training Room will move to Carnarvon Court.
  • Councillors’ offices will move from No 3 Main Street to within the Castle, below the Council Chamber.

There was a related submission from the Information Technology department to move towards a ‘Thin Client’ computer service. This will allow each SHG member of staff to log on at any connected terminal and have all of their work saved to a central server.  While this new system is quite expensive to set up, it will thereafter improve efficiencies and save operational costs.  Executive Council agreed the funding for this project.

The next item was an Information Paper on the revised fuel prices.  Fuel prices are now determined by a formula based on the cost of the fuel, the cost of transport and the tax imposed on the fuel.  SHG is committed to a policy of equalising the tax imposed on petrol and diesel, but it is important to note that equalising the rate of tax could still lead to a price differential between the two fuels.

There was also an Information Paper on the Undertakings and Resolutions made at the last formal meeting of Legislative Council.  It is important that decisions made at formal Legislative Council are monitored to ensure that they are properly implemented in a timely manner.  There is now a tracker document as part of the monitoring process.

The recent outbreak of Newcastle Disease amongst chickens on St Helena has made necessary a temporary regulation to prohibit the export of poultry (whether live or in the form of meat products) and eggs from St Helena to Ascension Island. This was agreed, as it minimises the risk of this disease being transmitted to chickens on Ascension. The regulation will remain effective until ANRD gives St Helena the all clear of the disease.

In the Closed Session, the substantive item was a discussion on the disposal of the ex-PWD store. A decision was taken and further information will be released in due course once contract negotiations have been concluded.

A discussion then followed on forthcoming Airport Legislation needed for Certification. This detailed and technical legislation will be presented to formal Legislative Council in December 2014.

Finally, the Governor announced that a DFID team will be coming to St Helena at the end of October 2014 to engage in budget discussions. This mission may not announce an agreed final budget figure on Island at the end of their visit. This may require further detailed work before it is announced. This annual DFID visit was previously known as the Development Aid Planning Mission (DAPM) and will now be known as the Budgetary Aid Mission (BAM).

The meeting concluded at 11.50am.

ExCo

16 September 2014

Councillor Christine Scipio-O’Dean will depart St Helena this week to attend the 60th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference and 34th Small Branches Conference in Cameroon, which will run from 2 – 10 October 2014.

During the course of the conference several workshops will be held, including ‘Unity and Diversity’, ‘Joining Hands for Womens’ Rights’, ‘Parliamentarian in Gender Empowerment’, ‘Development Agenda against the Standards set out in the Commonwealth Charter’ and ‘Good Governance for the 21st Century: (Transparency and Accountability’).  As some of these workshops will be held at the same time Councillor Scipio-O’Dean has chosen to attend ‘Joining Hands for Womens’ Rights’ and one entitled ‘How Can Parliament Ensure that Young People are Placed at the Centre of Sustainable Development’.

Councillor Scipio-O’Dean said:

“I am delighted to attend the 60th Commonwealth Parliamentary and Small Branches Conferences in Cameroon which will allow me to engage with parliamentarians across the British Islands & Mediterranean Regions and beyond, to share experiences, knowledge, ideas and observations.” 

Christine will be taking a lead role by attending the Executive Committee Meeting, and during the Small Branches Conference, Councillor Scipio-O’Dean will lead the discussion on the Challenge of Small States’ Vulnerabilities in relation to Social and Economic Development.

Assistant Chief Secretary (Support), Gillian Francis commented:

“This is an opportunity for Councillor Scipio-O’Dean to network and build relationships with members of the CPA.  Attendance at the conference will also provide opportunity to promote St Helena as a tourist and investment destination in the run-up to the Airport opening.” 

SHG

16 September 2014

A new school year has begun and the Island schools are planning for an exciting year ahead.  There has never been a more important time to make sure that your children make the most of the opportunities a good education gives them.

One of the easiest ways to help your children succeed in school is to make sure that they do attend school regularly. Councillor Christine Scipio-O’Dean said:

“It is the parents’ responsibility to ensure that children attend school from the age 5-16. The majority of the children have strong attendance and hardly ever miss school, but unfortunately some children do not have such a good record and sometimes miss school for trivial reasons.”

The Education Directorate will now be monitoring attendance more robustly and senior officers within the Directorate will not be slow to contact parents if it looks like a child’s attendance record is a cause for concern.

Director of Education Colin Moore concluded:

“We want all our children to enjoy learning and to take part in all the activities their school has to offer. I urge parents to help their children and young people to attend school regularly.  Don’t miss out by missing school!”

SHG

15 September 2014

INITIAL FINDINGS

With the cooperation of the RMS St Helena, the conservation team on Ascension Island and the RAF, the poultry samples taken from St Helena – consisting of sera, multiple organs, and swabs taken from eight severely affected chickens – arrived in excellent condition at the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations reference laboratory in London.

The laboratory, a world centre of excellence, has now diagnosed Newcastle Disease, also known as Fowl Plague. The laboratory will now grow and isolate the virus, with the intention of identifying the specific strain and potential source.

There is no threat to general public health on St Helena. However, those in direct contact with infected birdsmay develop a very short-term eye infection (conjunctivitis), which passes without treatment. Poultry keepers on St Helena are advised of the possibility of eye infections.

No human cases of Newcastle Disease have occurred through eating any poultry products.

In terms of preventative measures, ANRD has already deployed a vaccine from South Africa to protect the Island’s parent stock and other large flocks around the two initial sites of outbreak. This is called ring vaccination, and if another outbreak occurs outside this ring, it may be necessary to vaccinate other flocks of domestic chickens on the Island. These measures will mitigate risk of spread to wild birds too. ANRD will monitor the situation. The public will be kept informed of any other outbreaks and of the final laboratory findings.

This disease is not confined to poultry. The disease rarely has a fatal outcome for wild birds, but as virulence varies between viral strains and bird species, the potential effect on St Helena’s wild birds cannot be accurately predicted, until the strain is identified.

More will be known about the specific strain and the potential source once the laboratory has completed its investigations.

Measures are also now being put in place to prevent the movement of local eggs and poultry products from St Helena to other destinations.

Vaccination has already been applied to poultry at susceptible sites and application of the simple hygiene measures detailed below will help to reduce the potential spread of the disease.

Any enquiries relating to Newcastle Disease can be made to the Head of ANRD on tel. 24724 or email. darren-duncan@enrd.gov.sh

The public are encouraged to report any unusual bird deaths.

STOP THE SPREAD

 

  • 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 poultry 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 poultry coop which never leaves your property
  • Wash your hands after visiting the chickens
  • Discourage visitors to your coop and avoid visiting birds at other premises
  • Protective eyewear is advisable during actual outbreaks

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

Symptoms in chickens may include all or some of thefollowing:

o   Open mouth breathing

o   Coughing and sneezing

o   Discharge from the eyes and nostrils

o   Blackening of combs and wattles

o   Severe yellow and watery diarrhoea

o   Sudden egg drop, combined with paper-thin eggshells

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Newcastle Disease virus?

Newcastle Disease virus is a virus that can cause a deadly infection in many kinds of birds.  There are many different strains and not all are pathogenic.

  • What animals can contract Newcastle Disease?  

Both domestic and wild birds can be affected by Newcastle Disease (ND). Chickens are particularly susceptible. Turkeys, ducks, geese and pigeons are also known to be potentially affected.  ND in wild birds is rarely fatal and susceptibility is highly variable between different species of birds.

  • How can my poultry catch Newcastle Disease?

Newcastle Disease is spread by direct contact with the droppings, body fluids or respiratory discharges of infected birds. The virus can live for a long time in the environment and can also be spread by shoes, clothing, and equipment.

  • How does Newcastle Disease affect my poultry?

Newcastle Disease in birds can vary from no signs of illness to sudden death. Affected birds may have coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge and diarrhoea. Chicken flocks often show a sudden decrease in egg production or produce thin-shelled eggs.

  • Can humans catch Newcastle Disease?

Newcastle Disease is not considered a general public health threat. Infection in humans is very rare and very mild.

People regularly in direct contact with poultry should watch for signs of conjunctivitis (swelling and reddening of the tissues around the eyes). Poultry crews and laboratory workers are at the greatest risk of potential exposure to the virus.

Most medical authorities state that the disease poses no health risk to consumers of eggs or poultry meat. No human cases of Newcastle Disease have occurred from eating poultry products.

Chickens with the disease will be destroyed and will not enter the food chain, and the virus is destroyed by cooking.

  • How can I protect myself from Newcastle Disease?

When working directly with birds or poultry, especially when they are ill, wear gloves and safety glasses. Wash your hands after all contact. Avoid touching your eyes until your hands have been washed.

Please refer also to the preventative measures outlined in the above press release.

SHG

12 September 2014

 

 

Open to the Public from 9.30 am

Executive Council will meet next Tuesday morning, 16 September 2014, in the Council Chamber.

The meeting will be open to the public from 9.30am for the following Open Agenda items:

 

  • Sustainable Development Plan
  • Capital Programme 2014/15 – Relocation and Rationalisation of SHG Office Accommodation
  • Information Paper on Revised Fuel Prices
  • Information Paper of Undertakings And Resolutions Made at the Formal Meeting of Legislative Council Held on 11 August 2014

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

SHG

12 September 2014

 

Police Service - Confirmation in Rank Ceremony
Police Service – Confirmation in Rank Ceremony

Five St Helena Police Constables were officially Confirmed in Rank during a special ceremony in the Council Chamber on Wednesday 10 September 2014.

PCs Julianne Benjamin, Jane John, Brianna Yon, Clayton Crowie and Craig Crowie all passed their two year probationary period and initial police training and were recognised for their achievements in the presence of invited family and friends.

The ceremony was opened with prayers from Bishop Richard Fenwick, followed by opening remarks from Chief of Police, Trevor Botting, who said:

“It is my privilege to be the Chief of Police for St Helena and Ascension Island and no more so than today – when I have the pleasure of recognising the achievements of Officers setting out on a career with the Police Service.

“Sir Robert Peel, who founded the Metropolitan Police in 1829, is reported to have said ‘The Police are the public and the public are the Police’. These words stay true for today’s modern policing where I believe it is crucial to have local people policing their local community. The officers receiving their certificates today, to recognise their confirmation in the rank of Constable, are just that – Saints proudly serving their local community.

“This is my opportunity to say thank you to you, the families who support their loved ones in their chosen career and all that this entails. To you my officers I would say this: Congratulations on your achievements during your first two years and in your Confirmation in Rank. You epitomise what the Police Service stands for through our values – Professionalism, Respect & Dignity, Honesty & Integrity, Courage, Supportiveness and Compassion.”

Inspector Jonathan Thomas echoed the Chief’s words and commented on the day as being one of many milestones in a Police Officer’s career and one they should all be proud of. He went on to say that to pass their probationary period, Police Constables had to carry out various tasks including control of the beat, making arrests, attending court, detaining, interview planning, conducting interviews and accident procedures. All Constables carried out these operational duties to a high standard, and were recognised today.

Certificates were presented to the five Constables by Head of the Governor’s Office Sean Burns, who also recognised not only the achievement of each of those present, but the St Helena Police Service as a whole. He remarked on the continuous evolvement of the service and its strive towards excellence and gaining public confidence. He paid tribute to each member of the Police Service for the work they do which can be difficult in a small community but appreciated by all whom they serve.

This was the first time a ceremony has been held to confirm officers in rank and it is planned this will become a normal occurrence in future.

A group photo is attached.

SHG

12 September 2014