This morning HE Governor Capes addressed the first meeting of the St Helena Legislative Council since the General Election held on 17 July 2013. Here is the Governor’s Address in full:

“My Lord Bishop, I thank you warmly for your presence here this morning and for inviting God’s blessings and guidance. Thank you also, for all that you do, with such enthusiasm, love and compassion, for our community.

Honourable Members, colleagues, I welcome this opportunity to address you at the beginning of the term of this new Legislative Council. I should like first to congratulate each one of you for standing for election and on winning the confidence of those that you are here to represent. I offer special acknowledgment to Councillor Olsson who I believe is here to serve on Council for her fifth term. I should also acknowledge those that stood unsuccessfully at the General Election. I thank them for their willingness to serve the people of St Helena.

It would be most remiss of me not to pause here, to mention the excellent work of the Returning Officer, Mrs Gilly Francis. She, and her team, managed the preparations for the election and the count itself quite superbly. Mrs Francis, currently our acting Chief Secretary, is an outstanding public servant and trusted colleague whose professionalism sets the high standard that others may strive to achieve; I am most grateful to her.

My thanks also to our hugely capable and experienced Attorney General, Ken Baddon, for his invaluable input to the election process and for the steady supply of sound advice that he so readily provides to guide our work. That I have enjoyed every single day of my work here is due in large part to having such first class colleagues.

During the run up to the General Election, one often heard the remark that this would be the most important General Election in the history of St Helena. I would not disagree. The status quo of seemingly endless dependency on DfID has gone forever. St Helena is on a new compass bearing now, one that steers away from reliance on the taxes of people 5,000 miles away. We are approaching a new era, an era that will bring many challenges, as well as new opportunities. At the dawn of air access in 2016, this Legislative Council will be in the driving seat. Whether St Helena is well positioned, ready to prosper and benefit from this new era, will depend on you. Whether the people of St Helena will be properly prepared, ready to face that new era with confidence, without fear, will depend on you. The people of St Helena have put their trust in you to guide the Island.

I believe that they want you to deliver greater opportunity and prosperity, ensuring that all who live here can share in that prosperity, ensuring that those who need extra help and care will receive it and ensuring that the environment and cultural heritage is properly safeguarded. I believe that is the essence of the challenge that you face. And the people of St Helena, to whom you are accountable, will rightly judge you on your performance.

You will have your own ideas on how to meet the challenge ahead. But I should like to offer to you a few thoughts on laying the foundations for progress; thoughts that are drawn from my observations over the past year or so.

The people look to you for leadership. They want to see leadership. I urge you to provide that leadership and the accountability that must accompany it. That involves being prepared to explain and stand by your decisions. When the going gets tough, it is important to resist taking the ignoble route of looking to officials or others to provide cover for your decisions. You make the decisions, you own them, you explain and justify them.

Encourage good communication and trust between each other and with public servants. Avoid being labelled as one of those that constantly criticise and find fault. How idle it is, how utterly unhelpful and negative it is, to just criticise and blame others. How much more constructive, how much more intelligent, to work, to work together, to find a remedy.

Tell the people where you are taking St Helena. An absolutely vital and continuous part of your job must be to make the time to explain fully to the people where we are heading and why; and crucially, what that will mean for them.

I offer these thoughts for you to consider as you prepare to take on the heavy responsibility of government. You may choose to disregard them of course, but if you were to heed them I believe that you would soon improve the historically poor image that many people have of Councillors, and by extension of government. My challenge to you, starting from today, is to improve the reputation and worth of Councillors in the eyes of the people of this Island.

For my part, as Governor and head of the government, I commit to working with you and with officials to help meet the challenges ahead to serve the best interests of all the people of St Helena. Let us work together, in partnership, to build a stronger St Helena, to deliver the full potential of this wonderfully special and much loved Island.

Thank you.”

Governor Mark Capes
24 July 2013

 

There are only 9 days left before the closing date of the St Helena photography competition – on Wednesday 31 July.  So be quick if you want to enter!

If you still have any questions, then feel free to contact 2368.

All photos submitted must be taken on St Helena, but otherwise there are no conditions.  Existing photographs will be accepted, or those taken especially for the competition, and can be of any subject.  For example, your family or friends, your home surroundings, a celebration or your favourite spot on the Island.  Indoors or outdoors, high quality or not – please feel free to submit all types of photographs that reflect any aspect of your life on this Island.  We’re not just interested in beautiful photographs – we want the day to day images too.

A maximum of 5 pictures can be submitted for judging and should (ideally) be stored on a CD or a memory stick, and placed in an envelope with a description of the pictures and approximate date/s taken, together with your name, age category, and contact details.  Entries should be addressed to Ian Jones, Chief Public Relations Officer, 1 Main Street. They can be posted or dropped off at the office.

Remember – terrific prizes for first place (£150), second (£75) and third (£50) will be awarded in each of three age categories.  These are those aged 10-15, 16-21 and 22 years and over. 

This is your chance to show what your Island is all about!

SHG

23 July 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alex Vanguard singing Cottage On A Hill
Alex Vanguard singing Cottage On A Hill

To celebrate the end of another school year, Prince Andrew School held its annual End of School Concert and Melodrama Evening on Friday 19 July 2013. Those who participated included the lunchtime and after school musical groups, the GCSE music group, the after school Melodrama Club and Made in St Helena (the School’s rock band).

Head Girl Eira Stevens hosted the evening and introduced the acts. Also attending were, Cathy Hopkins, Flute and Clarinet tutor and Pastor Graeme Beckett, Trumpet tutor.

Although entrance was free, money was donated generously by the public to put towards the School’s fund for music education. There was also a sale of CDs with the talents of the Schools very own vocals group.

Paul Starkie, Head Teacher of Prince Andrew School, opened the evening by welcoming members of the public and guests, including HE Governor Capes, accompanied by Mrs Capes.  Paul said that they were in for “a musical feast”.

There was a challenge for most students, as those who were part of the GCSE Music group performed a solo for their coursework.

The Melodrama Club provided entertainment to the audience by performing “I Wish I Was Our Sammy” and excerpts from “Blood Brothers” – both by Willy Russell.

The evening was rounded off with a performance by Made in St Helena, with the group singing Emeli Sande’s “Next to me”.

Music teacher and director of the evening, Teeny Lucy commented:

“I am very pleased with the concert overall, especially the standard of the performances from the students. They’ve worked hard over the past year learning various instruments, plus choir and drama. They produced an enjoyable evening for all. With the money collected from purchasing of the vocals CD and the donations on the night, there is a total of over £300. being put towards the music education fund.”

Picture attached

SHG

23 July 2013

Speaking on receiving the happy news from London yesterday evening, His Excellency Governor Mark Capes said:

‘On behalf of the people of St Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha, I send warm greetings and congratulations to Their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, on the birth of their son.’

The Governor,
St Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha,
23 July 2013

Attendees Gather for ESH Official Opening
Attendees Gather for ESH Official Opening

Just over a year since its launch, Enterprise St Helena (ESH) hosted an official Open Day on Friday 19 July 2013 to mark its first year in operation.

Governor Capes Unveils ESH Cornerstone
Governor Capes Unveils ESH Plaque

Attended by His Excellency Governor Capes, newly Elected Members and other distinguished guests and officials, the Open Day, held at the ESH Business Park at Ladder Hill, sought to inform attendees of what ESH has been doing over the last 12 months, showcase the opportunities and activities that will be available in the next 32 months (the estimated period until the airport opening), and showcase opportunities for development and business growth.

Governor Capes officially opened the ESH Offices at 3pm, and commented:

“The opening of the airport in early 2016 will give St Helena a chance to halt the economic decline of past decades, turning it around so that it can begin to grow and support the needs of St Helena. It will do this by providing good jobs and the revenue we would like to see spent on our Health Care, Schools and Social Services.

“This means that Saints need to take advantage of new business opportunities that air access will make possible, by either improving and expanding existing businesses here or starting new ones – that is why we need ESH who are here to help Saints to get involved and to share in growing our economy.”

Following a blessing by Bishop Richard, Governor Capes unveiled the plaque at the cornerstone of the ESH Offices and declared the Enterprise St Helena offices officially opened.

A specially made cake for the occasion was cut by the oldest and newest tenants of the Business Park, after which attendees were able to browse the ESH offices and visit the tenants to find out more about the services they offer.

The work of ESH focuses on six key areas:
• Tourism Promotion
• Up-skilling Saints
• Helping Saint Businesses to Plan for Growth
• Assisting Saint Businesses with Finance
• Fisheries Development
• Attracting Investment (Both local and international).

SHG
22 July 2013

The revised bus timetable, introduced on 22 May 2013, will see further changes later this week, as a result of information collected since the trial bus service started on 11 February 2013.

Changes to the revised timetable will cut out less frequently used routes and offer routes that are more ‘in demand’. These changes will take effect from Thursday 25 July 2013.

Changes to the current timetable are as follows:

On Route C the two trips from Jamestown leaving at 11.30am and again at 12.30pm will be merged. Currently the trip which leaves Jamestown at 11.30am travels to Ladder Hill, Half Tree Hollow, New Ground and White Wall, returning to Jamestown at 12.20pm. The bus which leaves Jamestown at 12.30pm travels to Ladder Hill, White Wall, New Ground and terminates at White Gate.

From Thursday, the merged, single trip will leave the Grand Parade, Jamestown at 12 noon, travel to Ladder Hill, Half Tree Hollow, White Wall, New Ground, Cleughs Plain, Rosemary Plain, and Scotland, before terminating at White Gate. Following this termination will be the normal Route B run, which begins at 1.35pm (Details of this run can be found on the existing timetable).

Exact times for each stop on the newly merged route can be obtained from Joshua’s Taxis on 3648.

The second change to the timetable is the removal of the Route B public transport run on a Wednesday. The bus which leaves the Grand Parade at 8.30am, 3pm and 9pm will now only travel as far as the CCC. But subject to the demand of Hospital staff also using this run, the bus might travel further, to take staff home.

Acting Deputy Chief Secretary, Derek Henry, said of these changes:

“The reason for further refining the current trial bus timetable is to better cater for public demand.

“We received suggestions about certain routes and taking these comments into consideration we have tried to arrange routes to benefit the majority of our users. These changes will hopefully provide the best mix for our final timetable, which will be published once the trial service finishes at the end of August.”

SHG
22 July 2013

Thirty-two year 11 students of Prince Andrew School have from 1 July volunteered to take part in the work experience programme provided by the Adult Vocational Education Service (AVES).  Having completed their compulsory schooling and GCSE examinations – for the next six weeks these students will be working in various organisations across the Island. A number of these students have decided to work for St Helena Government and related bodies – including in the Police Directorate, Environmental Management Directorate (EMD), Primary Schools, and Health and Social Welfare.

Students have also shown interest in the Tourist Office, a part of Enterprise St Helena, which has a strong link with SHG.

Alexandria Thomas
Alexandria Thomas

The experience gained from working in these Directorates will give students an insight into an actual working environment, providing them with more knowledge and experience about the career path they might choose.

We caught up with two students on the programme.

Alexandria Thomas (photo attached) has an interest in tourism and has chosen to work five days a week in the Tourist Office, Jamestown. Alexandria says that so far her work is satisfying, but she has a challenge to overcome her shyness and become more confident. At the end of the programme, Alexandria will have gained experience of what is like to be in the working world, and then hopes to work towards a career in travel and tourism.

Candice Thomas
Candice Thomas

Another student, Candice Thomas (photo attached), chose to work at Pilling Primary School as she would like to have a future in teaching. Being a former student of Pilling Primary, Candice is familiar with her working surroundings. Candice enjoys working three days a week and has learnt how to cope with different behaviours and how to be a good role model to those younger than her. Candice is sure that the work experience programme will help to prepare her for the future, as she is also interested in counselling children and says that she would like to work as a full time employee at Pilling Primary.

Cynthia Bennett of AVES organised the programme for students as part of the Careers Guidance Programme to help them choose the right job to suit their personality and to gain knowledge of what is needed to continue their career path.

Before the programme started, a one to one interview was conducted between Cynthia and each student to discuss their career plans and their choice of work experience. From there, Cynthia contacted the employers of each chosen workplace to ask for permission and to set a programme for the student. In addition to this programme, Cynthia will conduct an in-depth interview/job search programme that will last for four days and which she encourages all students, particularly those who will not be returning to school, to participate in.

So far Cynthia says that she has had positive feedback from all trainers. She commented:

“I am very pleased with the way the programme is going and, that all the students have taken this seriously and have realised the benefits.

“I am also pleased about the support I’ve had from the training providers and all the employment organisations. A lot of people have really come on board with it and have been very supportive.

“We ask the employers to come up with a work programme so that the students will have some idea of what is expected of them – each employer has done that. An assessment is made at the end of the programme – and that is an important reward to the students as they can keep it as a reference when they seek employment.”

 

SHG

22 July 2013

St Helena’s newly elected Councillors started their term in office today, with a briefing from senior officials.  This is in preparation for the first formal meeting of the new Legislative Council (LegCo) on Wednesday 24 July 2013.  The new Elected Members are:

  • Leslie      Paul Baldwin, Nigel Dollery, Wilson Charles Duncan, Gavin George Ellick,      Cyril Robert George, Anthony Arthur Green, Lawson Arthur Henry, Brian      William Isaac, Bernice Alicia Olsson, Ian Sebastian Rummery, Christine      Lilian Scipio-O’Dean, and Derek Franklin Thomas.

 

At this inaugural LegCo, Oaths of office will first be administered.  Following this, Councillors will elect a Speaker and Deputy Speaker, and also elect Committee Chairmen and Members to serve on Executive Council (ExCo).  Finally, three Members to serve on the Public Accounts Committee will be elected.  The Governor will preside over this inaugural meeting of the Legislative Council, but steps down as soon as the Speaker is elected.

The first meeting of ExCo will take place on Tuesday 6 August 2013.

As part of the Induction process for Elected Members, a Delegation from the UK branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) will arrive on-Island on Monday 29 July. 

 

CPA Delegation

Members of the Delegation will work with Councillors over an eight-day programme to strengthen and promote good Governance in St Helena.

Members of the CPA Delegation are:  Lord Shutt of Greetland OBE FCA (a former Deputy Chief Whip in the House of Lords and Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard), John Grimes (former Head of Governance at the National Assembly for Wales), Barry Paint (an Elected Member – or ‘Deputy’ – on the island of Guernsey), Tim Crookall (a Member of the House of Keys for Peel on the Isle of Man), and Joyce Watson (Welsh Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales since May 2007).

The post-Election seminar for Councillors will cover a range of subjects, including their role as Councillors, the leadership required from them, strategic policy making, the vital Councillor/community link, scrutiny and accountability, and the ethical behaviour and standards that are expected from Elected Members. The CPA will work with senior SHG officials in covering these subjects.

 

Notes for Editors

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s mission is to advance Parliamentary democracy by enhancing the knowledge and understanding of democratic Governance.  It seeks to build an informed political community able to deepen the Commonwealth’s democratic commitment and promote co-operation among its members.

SHG

19 July 2013

Marksman, Simon Henry
Marksman, Simon Henry

St Helena has won its first ever Gold Medal at the Island Games in the 2013 competition, currently being held in Bermuda.

Marksman, Simon Henry (pictured), took the Gold in the 10m Air Rifle Event emerging in top position with a score of 567 points, ahead of Gotland with 565 and Jersey with 558.

Simon also won a Silver Medal on Wednesday in the 50m Three Position Small Bore Rifle Open Event and on Tuesday both him and Carlos Yon won Silver Medals in the 50m Three Position Small Bore Rifle Team Event.

SHG
19 July 2013

For the second time in two days, St Helena has won a Silver Medal in the NatWest Island Games 2013, currently being held in Bermuda.

Marksman, Simon Henry (picture attached), came second place in the 50m 3 Position Small Bore Rifle Open Event with a score of 535, just 29 points behind Gotland (564) and 4 points ahead of Guernsey (531).

Simon Henry
Simon Henry

 

Fellow St Helenian Carlos Yon followed closely behind in 6th position out of 11 shooters.

These results make this St Helena’s best ever performance in the Island Games, with several events still to come.

SHG
18 July 2013