The monthly meeting of the Economic Development Committee (EDC) took place on Thursday, 24 January 2019, and the following is a summary of the main items discussed:

Enterprise St Helena (ESH) delivered a report for the month of December: four Small Medium Enterprise Grant applications – two Agriculture and two Service Industries – were approved during December, resulting in two new businesses registered for tax purposes.  Additionally, ESH, in partnership with the Agriculture & Natural Resources Division (ANRD), is facilitating applications from two syndicates for improvements to pastures.

December saw the Island host St Helena’s first Destination Management Company (DMC)/Tour Operator Symposium with a group of international tour operators and trade journalists, led by the Brighter Group. Their itinerary provided them the opportunity to test the local product whilst working with the local DMCs. Local DMCs gave presentations about their businesses and what they can offer, whilst the tour operators presented what they provide and what they are looking for when working with local DMCs. Overall, it was felt the symposium was a success, however detailed feedback from all parties is currently being collated. Immediate success was obtained with one of the tour operators now selling St Helena on their website.  This brings the total number of tour operators up to 51 from November 2018. During the symposium, the opportunity arose for a round table discussion with international tour operators, SHG, ESH, DFID, Airlink and the Tourism Association to discuss how tourism has been progressing to date.

The tender process for Sandy Bay Beach Road should commence shortly, using estimates produced by the SHG Roads Section. In relation to the potential installation of toilets at High Knoll Fort, this project is subject to available resources, budget approval by ESH Board, planning approval, and identification of end user responsibility for ongoing operation and maintenance. A local firm has been approached to produce an options paper/feasibility study, to include four costed concept designs for stakeholder consideration.

The Peter Greenburg visit was a success, logistically.  Peter and his team stayed on-Island between 4 and 9 December and were subject to a full itinerary of Island offerings which will be used in his online videos and relayed in his radio broadcasts for the purpose of promoting St Helena particularly to the US and online.

The Committee agreed an uplift in fees & charges in respect of Companies fees & Trade Marks Registration fees, the proposed changes to the fees will be submitted to Governor in Council in due course for approval.

ANRD was happy to report that the last consignment of 1,000 day old chicks were in their last week of quarantine and will be issued to the general public along with the appropriate feed. They were vaccinated against fowl pox and will be kept under observation.

Losses have been very light and less than statistics predicted. Expected mortality over the first four weeks is between 18 and 20 chicks, only six chicks were lost. Despite employing five rooms to increase space, some of the chicks began to peck at each other which is likely a reflection of frustrated instincts and boredom. This is being controlled by providing hanging objects and ‘toys’, expanded walk areas, and hanging of fresh picked fodder to occupy them.

In the Closed Session, an update was provided from the Investment Enabling Group. SHG’s Fibre Optic Cable Consultant, Tony Fisk, was on-Island in December and as a result of the landing site survey developed, the January 2019 milestone for EDF11 funding was achieved. A satellite ground station provider visited the Island as part of a first step to developing St Helena’s space and ground satellite station industry (as is the aspiration in the Sustainable Economic Development Plan). The Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA) contract with PASH Global who intend to install a battery and further solar and wind renewable energy is expected to be signed soon.

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SHG

8 February 2019

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