The 2013 Register of Electors was published today, 24 June, 2013 in an Extraordinary Gazette. The Register is effective from 1 July 2013.

Only persons who are named on the Register will be eligible to vote, or stand, in the General Election 2013 which will take place on Wednesday 17 July. Those aged under 21 years cannot stand as Candidates.

Further information regarding Polling Day was published in an Insert in both newspapers in the week commencing Monday 10 June. More information will follow.

SHG
24 June 2013

Deputy Chief Secretary, Gillian Francis, has this morning taken the role of Acting Chief Secretary, after taking the prescribed Oaths of Office in the presence of His Excellency, Governor Capes, in his office at the Castle. Gillian’s appointment as Acting Chief Secretary becomes immediately effective.

Chief Secretary, Owen O’sullivan and his family departed the Island on Friday 21 June for a period of overseas leave. The Chief Secretary will return to St Helena on Monday 2 September 2013.

Gillian Francis takes the Oaths for Acting Chief Secretary

SHG
24 June 2013

The Immigration section would like to advise the public departing for Cape Town that the Foreign Office guidance to travellers carrying British or British Overseas Territories passports in South Africa recently changed – with the following statement added to their information for travellers:

“Always carry your identity documentation or a copy of your passport. You’ll need to be able to produce valid identification on request by South African officials.”

It is recommended that travellers carry a photocopy of their passport with them while in South Africa. If you decide to carry your original passport, you should ensure it is kept in a safe place and that you retain a copy of it.

SHG
20 June 2013

 Stored Water Levels in Redhill Zone Sufficient for 12 Days

The water shortage on St Helena, though still severe and serious in the affected areas, has eased slightly with this week’s bowsering efforts and the continued reduced level of consumption in the Redhill distribution area.  Although there have been irregular rain showers over the last few days, this has made no significant change in the amount of stored water levels. 

Stored water levels at Redhill remain exceptionally low, but have extended slightly to around 12 days of supply. The Contingency Planning Group (CPG) again thanks the public for responding to the water situation and reducing consumption, as this has helped greatly in stretching the stored water supply. 

An additional bowser from Ascension Island arrived on the RMS this week.  Donated to SHG by MOD at no cost, it will become fully operational at the beginning of next week.  The CPG thanks the MOD for the bowser, which will further increase stored water levels in the Redhill Distribution area.    

The laying of pipework to pump raw water to the Scotts Mill Reservoir area from Hutts Gate, via Grape Vine Gut, will also become effective next week.  This water will then be treated at Redhill, before entering the main system.

This message goes out to the Island as a whole, as bowsering and pumping from reliable sources clearly has implications for the totality of St Helena’s water supplies. Water is ultimately a finite resource on this Island and we thank all districts for reducing their water consumption.

Please continue to reduce your water consumption and use only for essential domestic needs for the foreseeable future.

SHG

21 June 2013

Gravity Rush1                                                                                                   Gravity Rush2

St Helena’s first ever Gravity Rush race event took place in front of an estimated 800-strong crowd on Sunday 16 June 2013.

Organised by SHAPE (St Helena’s Active Participation in Enterprise), the event encouraged the participation of homemade Go-Karts to race down Main Street, Jamestown, finishing on the Bridge in the market place area.

The thrilling and at times hilarious event saw eight entrants, and several spills during the qualifying races.

Cable and Wireless emerged the overall winners, finishing in a remarkable time of just over 40 seconds in their Company inspired Land Rover-styled Go-Kart. Following closely behind was Prince Andrew School’s ‘Renault’ and third place went to Thorpe’s Stores.

SHAPE itself also picked up a prize for best design but had to withdraw from the competition later due to technical difficulties.

Sharon George, Assistant Manager of SHAPE said:

“We were very happy with the afternoon’s event. Lots of hard work went into its preparation and we were really pleased with the turnout and overall success. Our thanks are extended to all those who took part and to the public for their great support.”

Total monies raised on the day were £1628 which will now go towards the £10,000 needed each year to help with SHAPE activities.

The success of the event has now earmarked it as an annual activity. 

SHG

19 June 2013

 

The Health and Social Welfare Directorate has received notification from DfID of overall ‘A’ ratings for two major projects indicating that both programmes have met their overall objectives.

The Healthlink 3 and Health Strategy projects started in October 2008 and ended in March 2012.  The main focus of Healthlink 3 was to ensure that key professional personnel for Health and Social Services were provided for St Helena and Tristan da Cunha.  The Health Strategy project complemented Healthlink 3 and – looking forward – focused on developing and improving overall health and social services provision on the Island. The project funding enabled staff training and investment in equipment which have helped to raise standards in health and social care services.

Director of Health and Social Welfare Mrs Carol George said: 

“We are extremely pleased with the ratings received for these projects.  This is the result of hard work and commitment from everyone and I thank all staff involved.  The Directorate is committed to maintain and where necessary further improve health and social welfare services on the Island.”

SHG

19 June 2013

INTERIM MEASURE

Eddie Palmer, who left the Island in April 2013, is to return to St Helena as DfID Representative on 29 July 2013.  This is an interim measure, following the withdrawal of the selected candidate for the post. Eddie’s return will allow DfID and SHG time to consider all options for strengthening and developing their relationship as partners in St Helena’s future.

Eddie is familiar to many on St Helena, having previously served as DfID Representative from 2006 to 2013. He is likely to remain on-Island until around the end of October 2013.

Set to depart Glasgow on 22 July, Eddie said

‘Although only a temporary return to St Helena, I’m delighted to continue to help out at such an important time in the Island’s development. My familiarity with the important issues and with the SHG team will obviously help and I think this also demonstrates DfID’s continuing commitment to the economic development of St Helena.’ 

SHG

18 June 2013

In 1998, the inspection of fresh produce arriving on St Helena was formalised.  The Biosecurity Team job is to protect the Island from new invasive species that can have a disastrous effect on St Helena’s crops and agriculture – and perhaps more importantly, on St Helena’s unique species.  

Dr Jill Key, Pest Control and Biosecurity Officer said:

“The fruits and vegetables that are imported onto St Helena come in at two different temperatures, enabling the products to store better.  Once the containers arrive, we open the boxes and inspect a sample of each type of vegetable and fruit.”

Some produce are lower risk than others.  Carrots, for example, are medium, as opposed to high risk peaches, plums and clementines which have the potential to carry varied species of fruit fly.  Potatoes are also high risk to import as they can contain diseases picked up in South Africa.

Jill said that all fresh produce that arrives from South Africa must carry a Perishable Products Export Control Board Certificate (PPECB), which means products come passed for export with the same standards as used for Britain and Japan.  Crops are grown by certified farmers who abide by a strict regime of high levels of inspection for diseases.

Once samples have been collected from the refrigerated containers (situated near the customs buildings) they are taken to the inspection room where every single piece of fruit or vegetable in the sample is checked. 

If a quarantine pest is found, the inspection team are faced with two options – to destroy the entire lot of that fruit or vegetable, or go through every single item in the lot.  This is the preferred option. However, in instances where the pest cannot be seen and a 100% inspection therefore can’t be done, all of the lot has to be destroyed, at the risk and cost of the retailer.  

With the winter season produce – mostly medium risk – it takes us about 5 hours to complete the inspection, once the produce is landed.  The product is then available to retailers.

Jill commented:

“Retailers who import products to the Island all have import licenses.  It is extremely important to have all the relevant documentation in order to verify fresh products imported and to enable us to stop new pests and diseases from coming in.”

A quarantine pest was found in the last voyage.  The team found a caterpillar in a sample of the sweetcorn, tentatively identified as the Spotted Stemborer which, isn’t something found on Island.

Jill explained:

“We then did a 100% inspection of the sweetcorn and found a total of 4 cobs infested. The caterpillars have been taken to the biocontrol unit to breed up into adults for identification.”

Jill explained that due to the nature of the Island – although levels of invasive species are quite low – there is a high risk to the unique biodiversity on St Helena.  The Biosecurity and Pest Control team plays a vital role in safeguarding St Helena’s environment.

SHG

18 June 2013

 

 

Entries are invited from the ages of 10 and upwards for a national photography competition.  The photos submitted must be images taken of St Helena.  There are no set categories, but all images of people, places, wildlife and scenery should seek to capture the atmosphere, beauty and culture of the Island.  There are 3 age categories (see below).

Images submitted for judging (a maximum of 5 photos per entry) must be on CDs placed in an envelope with a description of the pictures, date taken, photographer’s name, age and contact details – addressed to Ian Jones, Chief Public Relations Officer, 1 Main Street.  Entries will be judged by a panel of St Helena residents.

The closing date for entries is Wednesday 31 July 2013, 4pm.

Prizes will be awarded by HE The Governor for first (£150), second (£75) and third place (£50) in each of the age categories of 10-15 yrs, 16-21 yrs and 22 and over.  Winning entries are likely to receive substantial publicity as well as being displayed on the St Helena Government Website. 

SHG

18 June 2013

St Helena, one of the remotest jurisdictions in the world, is introducing ASYCUDA (Automated System for Customs Data).

This web based system will improve efficiency and speed in the acceptance and clearance of cargo, tax and other paper transactions. It also provides for the clearance of goods and for payment online. The system allows for a one-stop gateway for HM Customs and Revenue business, providing Government with trade figures and statistics in real time which is invaluable for budgeting and planning.

The development of the ASYCUDA system on St Helena signals the continuing improvement of HM Customs and Revenue’s service to the trade, public and Government, all of which will assist the Island in its future development.

Peter Henderson, Director General of HM Customs and Revenue on St Helena said:

“The ASYCUDA system will allow for simplified procedures that are clearly understood and transparent, while providing the level of service the community requires and deserves in the modern world. ASYCUDA will continue to develop in the future and we can look forward to further innovations.”

He added:

“While accepting electronic systems can improve our lives, we should never forget that there is an important human element in operating them and we are fortunate to have dedicated and professional staff, plus assistance from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).”

Reaching this point has taken a lot of hard work and dedication but now that the planning and procurement phases have been completed, St Helena staff – Juliette O’Dean, Customs Administrative Officer and Jeremy Roberts, Head of Information Technology – are now undergoing training by UNCTAD in Geneva to ensure the system can be installed and rolled out effectively on the Island.

The Introduction of the ASYCUDA system signifies a further step in the provision of E-government and ‘green’ government, and is important to the modernisation of the Island and its growing economy.

 Notes for Editors:

At present St Helena is only accessible by sea on the Royal Mail Ship St Helena (RMS), which runs from Cape Town, South Africa, and Ascension Island. This however is changing with the building of an airport on the Island, scheduled to open in early 2016.

St Helena, one of the most isolated Islands in the world, was for centuries an important stopover for ships sailing to Asia and South Africa. The Island was also used as a place of exile, most notably for Napoleon, Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo (King of the Zulus) and more than 5,000 Boer prisoners.

St Helena is Britain’s second oldest remaining Overseas Territory. 

HM Customs and Revenue

SHG

18 June 2013