A short EXCO today that started at 9.30 and finished at 11 o’clock.
We began with a brief status report on the airport project for which we were joined by Janet Lawrence, Airport Director. Many of you will be aware from the regular airport updates that Basil Read are considering design changes in Dry Gut and are currently working on a proposal to develop an open channel, instead of the culvert and attenuation dam. Executive Council was given an update on the status of the proposed design variation and the process that is being followed. There will be a more full discussion of the proposal at a meeting of Executive Council scheduled for next week.
Moving to our next item, the Attorney General presented a paper inviting EXCO to confirm that the number of Committees should be reduced from 8 to 5. The principle having been agreed some time ago, EXCO had no difficulty in approving the recommendation. This clears the way for an orderly transition when the current Committees stand down at the first meeting of Legislative Council after the General Election. EXCO accepted that the new Legislative Council may wish to ‘fine tune’ the titles and scope of one or more of the five Committees.
Our final paper today sought approval to add Italy to the list of countries specified by Regulations under the Medical Practitioners Ordinance. This was to enable a specialist gynaecologist from Italy, due to arrive here next month, to practice medicine on St Helena. Council approved this straightforward request.
And with that we closed our meeting. I am very pleased to be back on St Helena after my visit to the UK. I have been following with much interest the media interviews of many of those standing for election at the General Election next month. One of the advantages of providing a longer run up to the election is that it allows time for the media and the public to thoroughly explore with candidates how they view some of the important challenges ahead. It has also allowed good time for those standing for election to formulate their opinions and to communicate them properly to the electorate.
For anyone still considering whether or not to stand it’s time to make up your mind as the nominations have to be submitted by noon on Tuesday next week, 2 July.
It’s not a difficult process and the Returning Officer, Mrs Gilly Francis, or one of her team, would be pleased to offer guidance where it is needed. I believe that as of today there are about 16 people who have indicated that they will be standing for election, some of whom have already submitted their nominations.
But whether you are standing for election or not, please do make the effort to turn out to use your vote on polling day, 17 July. This year we will have just one constituency and that means that you will be able to vote for up to 12 candidates. It’s your time to choose who you trust to best represent you and to guide St Helena forward at this time of considerable change. If you don’t vote you lose your opportunity to secure the sort of leadership that you would like to have shaping St Helena’s future. So please do vote on 17 July. Put it in your diary and, rain or shine, vote on 17 July.
Thank you for listening and a very good afternoon to you all.
25 June 2013