L to R - Patra Duncan, Greg Hall and Anna Crowie
L to R – Patra Duncan, Greg Hall and Anna Crowie

As announced on 23 October 2015, the Director of Safeguarding, Greg Hall, will depart St Helena in December this year in order to take up another role in Australia.

Until his departure in mid-December, Greg will continue to implement important safeguarding reforms and the Directorate has been busy rolling out further improvements to social services, including some recent staff additions to Adult Services. Local staff Patra Duncan and Anna Crowie (photo attached) are leading new programs focusing on education and support for residential clients with a disability.

Director of Safeguarding, Greg Hall said:

“Whilst there has been a very important focus on safeguarding children this year, it’s crucial that the Island also improves services for vulnerable adults, particularly those with a disability, those who are elderly and vulnerable, and those with mental health issues. We started a more structured approach to this earlier this year, and further positions and improvements are rolling out.”

Reflecting on a year of rapid and ongoing change, outgoing director Greg highlighted improvements in support around sexual and domestic abuse and professional counselling – and increased training, recognition and development for staff.  He also stressed the creation of new opportunities for Saints:

“In December, we will be seeking a local manager to lead on supporting people impacted by domestic abuse.  This is in addition to the current recruitment of local Heads of Care at the CCC to work with an internationally qualified nurse who arrives next week.”

Greg leaves the Island on 13 December 2015 to pursue a new role in Australia, and hopes that in the future he will see Saints visiting there to pursue study or work exposure visits. SHG is now in the process of recruiting his successor and while this takes place, the role will be temporarily filled by Assistant Chief Secretary Paul McGinnety when Greg leaves St Helena.

Paul added:

“Greg has worked tirelessly to improve Safeguarding on the Island, which has benefited from his expertise. The search for his successor has commenced and I would urge any Saints with the right qualifications and experience to apply for this exciting and challenging role through the recruitment process.

“I would like to place on record our thanks to Greg and we wish him and his family well as they embark on a new challenge.”

The appointment of a new Director of Safeguarding will take place early in 2016.

SHG

1 December 2015

On the morning of Saturday 28 November 2015, Head of the Governor’s Office, Sean Burns, took the prescribed Oaths as Acting Governor in the presence of the Sheriff, Mrs Pat Musk MBE JP, and witnesses, in the Governor’s Office at the Castle (photo attached).  Mr Burns’ appointment was immediately effective on Saturday.

HE Governor Capes departed the Island on Monday 23 November 2015 for onward travel to the UK.

SHG

30 November 2015

The St Helena Utilities Regulatory Authority has today published its second annual ‘Report on the Quality of Services Provided by Connect Saint Helena Limited, 2014/15’.

On 1 April 2013 the Utility Services Ordinance 2013 came into force. The Ordinance established the Utilities Regulatory Authority and created a legal framework to facilitate the provision of licenses for private sector utility services.

The members of the Authority are the Chief Magistrate (Chairman), Mr Stedson Francis (BEM) and Mr Paul Hickling. The Judicial Services Manager is the Secretary to the Authority, to whom any communications should be made.

The main purpose of this annual reporting is to inform the public of the level of services being delivered by Connect, and to make Connect aware that such services are being monitored, scrutinised and will be publicly reported upon by the Authority. This aims to motivate the sole utilities provider to improve the quality of the services it provides.

The full report relates to the period from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015, and can be found on the SHG website at: http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/publications/

SHG
25 November 2015

Supreme Court
Supreme Court

The formal opening of the St Helena Supreme Court took place today, Monday 23 November, at 10am.  Civil and Criminal cases will be heard by the Supreme Court until Thursday 17 December 2015.

His Lordship, the Chief Justice, Charles Ekins Esq, entered the Courthouse accompanied by the Sheriff of St Helena, Mrs Pat Musk MBE JP, plus the Bishop of St Helena, Dr Richard Fenwick, and Chief Magistrate, John MacRitchie.  Lawyers, JPs, officials, and members of the public were also in attendance.

Attorney General Nicola Moore welcomed several new practitioners on-Island – firstly with the recent addition to the Attorney General’s Chambers of Angelo Berbotto, as Crown Counsel Safeguarding – a post offering support to both the Chambers and the Public Solicitor’s Office in providing specialist advice to ensure protection of the vulnerable in St Helena’s community.  An introduction was also given to the new Public Solicitor, Nicholas Aldridge and Charlotte Collier (Child Care & Civil) to the Public Solicitor’s Office.  Ben Channer, Locum Crown Counsel (Civil), was also welcomed and is currently providing services to the Attorney General’s Chambers until December 2015.

Nicola reflected on the challenges and opportunities of the legal landscape currently on St Helena, in particular referring to the Jury’s Amendment Ordinance, the Environment Protection Ordinance and the Mental Health Capacity Ordinance.

The Chief Justice spoke of his understanding of the challenges that have faced the Public Solicitor’s Office, the Attorney General’s Chambers and Judiciary Services in the run-up to the Supreme Court – and commented that he looks forward to working with them all, to accomplish all sessions in an efficient and effective manner and to ensure proper administration of justice.

SHG

23 November 2015

1 DECEMBER 2015 – WORLD AIDS DAY

What is HIV and AIDS?

HIV and AIDS is not the same thing and people who get an HIV infection do not automatically develop AIDS. HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus and weakens your ability to fight infections and disease generally.

Of the 2.1 million new infections recorded during 2013, 70 per cent occurred in Sub-Saharan Africa (WHO). This includes South Africa.

HIV is most commonly caught by having unprotected sex. So to stay safe, use protection!

There is no cure for HIV, but there are treatments to enable most people with the virus to live a long and healthy life.

AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome – a term which covers a range of infections and illnesses which can result from a weakened immune system caused by HIV.

AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection, when your body can no longer fight life-threatening infections. With early diagnosis and effective treatment, most people with HIV will not go on to develop AIDS. There is usually a time lag of several years between first being infected with HIV and then developing infections and other AIDS-related problems. Because Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) has altered the way we think about the condition, the term ‘Late-stage HIV’ is being increasingly used instead of AIDS.

What if I don’t like using protection i.e. condoms?

Condoms have come a long way in recent years and you can now get condoms in different sizes, flavours, and with added features to increase pleasure and heighten sensation. Condoms are still the best way to protect yourself and others from HIV infection, and other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), so if you think you don’t like using condoms, it’s worth trying out some different varieties. Condoms can be found at clinics, the pharmacy and various bars on St Helena.

If you find using condoms or negotiating condom use with a partner difficult, it is worth speaking to your community nurse, doctor, or use the contact details below.

If someone with HIV also has an STI this can increase the amount of virus in their body. The more virus there is, the greater the risk of transmission to another person, so it is a good idea for sexually active people to get regular sexual health check-ups for both HIV and other STIs. 

For further information please contact Marian Kanes, Health Promotion Trainer at hp.trainer@publichealth.gov.sh, or Marian Yon, Health Promotion Coordinator at marian.yon@publichealth.gov.sh. Alternatively you can call tel 22500, ext 211.

Marian Kanes, Health Promotion Trainer

SHG

23 November 2015

Jennifer Stephenson Jennifer Stephenson (pictured) arrived on Island on Saturday 7 November 2015 to undertake her role as a Counsellor with the Safeguarding Directorate. Jennifer will be on St Helena for a period of six months, with a view to a possible extension.

Jennifer aims to offer one-to-one sessions in a safe, comfortable and private environment to discuss issues and develop solutions for those on Island suffering from anxiety, depression, abuse, low self-esteem, or any other emotional or psychological concern.

Jennifer said:

“The first thing I would like to do is to try and understand St Helena and its culture as much as possible and to really understand what it is that the people of the Island would like from me. Hopefully I can then start to build up the public’s trust so that they feel comfortable in talking to me.”

Jennifer will have the capacity to see a maximum of fourteen people a week, supporting anyone who thinks they could benefit from counselling, as well as offering support to those going through the Court system. The service is fully independent, meaning that information is not passed on to Social Services, the Police or any other agencies.

Jennifer has worked as a counsellor for four years after completing a BSc Psychology Degree and then an MSc in Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy. She has worked in schools, children’s homes, and also set up a counselling service for people in their homes who were unable to access counselling due to poor health, mobility issues, or caring responsibilities. She has also supported 12-18 year olds residing in care due to physical, emotional or sexual abuse.

Jenny added:

“I have amassed a good amount of knowledge to support a wide range of people and issues, but I am also aware of my limitations and always want to learn more and grow.

“I see people as individuals and always have an open mind and a non-judgemental attitude – counselling is a journey we take together.”

Those interested in taking a counselling session or just to have an informal chat can contact Jennifer on 22713 or email: counsellor.safeguarding@helanta.co.sh.

After an initial appointment, a private mobile number will be given to ensure privacy and confidentiality.

SHG
23 November 2015

PARLIAMENTARY PRACTICE & PROCEDURE

Councillor (Wilson) Tony Duncan will represent St Helena at the 64th Westminster Seminar on Parliamentary Practice & Procedure, due to be held in the Houses of Parliament in London – running from Monday 30 November to Friday 4 December 2015.

Every year, the five-day programme aims to strengthen the knowledge, skills and confidence of first-term Members of Parliament and newly appointed Clerks, Councillors and Officials in the core aspects of their Parliamentary work.  It provides a unique platform for its participants to meet their counterparts and explore Parliamentary democracy, practice and procedure within a Westminster framework – and share experiences and common challenges in their Parliamentary work.

The 2015 programme covers an Introduction to the Westminster System, an Overview of the Legislative Process, the Role of the Speaker, Giving MPs a Voice, and the Ever-evolving Parliament – Parliamentary Ethics & Standards and Best Practice in Holding a Committee Enquiry.

Councillor Duncan departs St Helena today, Monday 23 November 2015, and will return on 23 December 2015.

SHG

23 November 2015   

 

 

Louise Scott
Louise Scott

Louise Scott (pictured) arrived on Island on 7 November 2015 to take up her role as a new Detective Constable in St Helena’s Police Service – to work on investigations relating to domestic violence, sexual abuse (working closely with the Safeguarding Team), and on other local crimes such as burglary and criminal damage.

Louise, who is initially contracted for a period of two years, spoke of her new role:

“I am slowly meeting new people and learning about the Island, in addition to understanding the local systems in place here as compared to the UK.”

Louise chose policing as a career as she has always wanted to work in an area which focuses on the protection of vulnerable people and children.

 Louise added:

“If I can go some way towards helping these people then I can say I have achieved something in my life.”

Louise has been a Detective for six years, based in East Sussex in the UK. She worked in CID for four years, before moving on to the child protection issues and anti-victimisation crimes.

Louise concluded:

“I have worked in extremely busy areas in the UK and I do believe I have gained a huge amount of experience within a very short space of time. I look forward to bringing this experience and knowledge to policing here in St Helena.”

SHG                                                                                                                                                                                 

20 November 2015

On Saturday 14 November 2015, a small ceremony (pictured)

St Helena Ebony
St Helena Ebony

was held at Ebony Point, near Blue Hill on St Helena, to rename the ledge from which Charlie Benjamin climbed down to collect cuttings of the endemic St Helena Ebony plant, Trochetiopsis ebenus (pictured) – rediscovered by George Benjamin and Quinton Cronk, on 11 November 1980. The ledge, now named as ‘Charlie’s Ebony Revival Ledge’, pays tribute to Charlie (George Benjamin’s brother) for his role in rescuing the endemic Ebony.

Charlie’s stepdaughter, Rosie Peters, and her family were present and planted Ebonies on behalf of Charlie’s daughter Wendy, who was married at Kew Gardens, London, on the same day. Father Dale Bowers gave his Blessing and all who spoke highlighted Charlie’s role in conservation and the importance of the rediscovery and subsequent propagation of the endemic Ebony.

Climbing up from Charleys Revival Ledge
Climbing up from Charleys Revival Ledge

Deputy Director of Environment & Natural Resources, Derek Henry, said:

“This ceremony was held to recognise Charlie’s role in the rediscovery of the Ebony and its rescue from potential extinction. Bearing in mind that this was 35 years ago, Charlie did not have access to proper rock climbing equipment and training and the cliff he climbed down is extremely perilous.”

The new name for the ledge, Charlie’s Ebony Revival Ledge, came about as a result of a competition between Island schools, which saw Year 2 at Pilling Primary School coming up with the winning name.

Councillor Gavin Ellick added:

“Charlie carried out a vital role in the rescue of the endemic Ebony and its subsequent conservation. His effort and contribution symbolises the very nature of conservation and highlights its importance, not only to the Island but also on the international stage.

“Charlie’s contribution has helped to raise awareness of conservation and its importance to the Island. The rediscovery of this plant has been a driver and an inspiration for conservation efforts that have occurred over the last 35 years on St Helena.”

Charlie’s Ebony Revival Ledge

All propagated Ebonies growing on the Island today can trace their descent back to the two plants that Charlie collected material from. Those cuttings were successfully rooted and as a result, thousands of Ebonies are now growing on the Island.

SHG
17 November 2015

Phillip Xavier
Phillip Xavier

Phillip Xavier (pictured) arrived on Island on 7 November 2015 to undertake his role as a Detective Constable specialising in assault cases for St Helena’s Police Service.

Phillip, who is on Island for one year, will investigate crimes involving sexual assaults and domestic violence, and will also assist with other investigations as required.

Phillip spoke of his main role on St Helena:

“Policing in St Helena is obviously different to the UK – it is a small Island where everyone knows each other and systems that you would take for granted in the UK are not available here. This means that policing work here is challenging in a completely different way.”

Phillip joined the police in 2004 and became a Detective Constable in 2007. Since then he has worked in a variety of departments in major CID roles. Initially training to become a DC in Brighton, Sussex, which was a very busy office where there were new investigations and prisoners who needed dealing with daily. The investigations that Phillip worked on covered a wide range of offences including robberies, serious assaults, high value thefts, burglaries and sexual assaults. After the CID, Phillip worked in the Anti-Victimisation Unit in Brighton for two years, investigating domestic violence cases and crimes involving vulnerable adults. He then moved onto the Major Crime Team for three and a half years, dealing with murders, manslaughters, stranger rapes and kidnaps – before taking up employment on St Helena.

Phillip added:

“I became a Police Officer and continue to be a Police Officer so that I can help people when they need it and make a difference in their lives. I truly hope that during my time living and working on St Helena, I can help victims of crimes by supporting them and listening to them – which will in turn allow me to investigate the crimes they report, and hopefully lead to a successful outcome.”

Phillip concluded:

“I have been very fortunate to work in a variety of police settings investigating a wide range of offences and working with many colleagues. This has given me a very broad range of skills and knowledge to bring with me to St Helena.

“More generally, I am also looking forward to meeting St Helena residents and experiencing the Island’s culture.”

SHG
17 November 2015