Good Day everyone,
ExCo met today, Tuesday 22October, to discuss three items on the open agenda.
The first item concerned a number of follow up actions pertaining to the Telecommunications and TV Broadcasting Licence that were issued to Sure Atlantic Ltd last year. Initially it was felt that this item should have been endorsed by the Economic Development Committee before coming to ExCo. In the open session it was therefore deferred, but upon further discussion it was accepted that this item should be presented by the Chief Secretary, as there were no policy changes but rather operational actions that were necessary to ensure compliance with the licences. The principle of getting political endorsement for policy changes or initiatives from the responsible committee was re-affirmed but considered unnecessary on this occasion.
The Service Level Agreement as provided by Sure for businesses and government subscribers was endorsed by ExCo and the tariffs which were implemented on the 1January 2013 were noted. It was further agreed that Sure no longer needs to provide Operator Assisted Calls but will do so in cases of emergency. This was only in relation to international calls and not other operator services such as directory enquiries.
As part of this item ExCo was asked to agree that the Deputy Chief Secretary authorise locally produced material for broadcast on TV. This is the half hour slot allocated for local TV production each day. Under the previous license there was an informal agreement that the Chief Secretary or Deputy Chief Secretary should authorise such programmes. There was a discussion as to whether the responsibility should fall to a government official and it was agreed that subject to certain conditions this would be acceptable. The conditions are that there will be a set of criteria that any programme must meet before broadcast and if a programme is refused then this must be referred to ExCo for a final decision.
The second item was a request from SAMS to allow them temporary use of a frequency for them to overcome difficulties with transmission of the BBC World Service. There was concern that this could impact on other frequencies and it was agreed that SAMS will report progress and any problems to the next Economic Development Committee.
The final item on the open agenda was the Application for Development Permission for Proposed Development of 65 dwellings including detailed permission for 14 homes. For this item, Mr David Taylor, Head of Planning and Building, was invited to join the discussion.
Mr Taylor gave a short presentation on the development and answered specific technical questions. There were nine planning conditions imposed on this development, which will be made publicly available, and a tenth condition that there be a temporary construction management plan applied to ensure neighbours are not disturbed unduly during construction.
The main points discussed were that:
- While the 14 houses have reference designs, the actual method of construction will be determined during the tender process.
- That five self-build plots are included in the original proposal but that this will be reviewed subject to demand
- The sale of land is not bound to the current pricing structure as proposals for affordable land sales are currently being discussed in Committee.
As there has been extensive consultation on this ExCo agreed to the development.
Under AOB the present situation with the shortage of UK Sterling was raised. This is of concern to the community as it is causing difficulties for Saints who are travelling overseas. Importation of UK Sterling is a very complex issue as there are restrictions on transporting currency and significant costs involved. The Financial Secretary confirmed that he had been in discussion with the Bank of St Helena to help to alleviate the immediate problem. Longer term, there is a need for a comprehensive review on whether we retain our own currency which will include public consultation.
The meeting closed at 11:45
Thank you for listening.
22 October 2013