8 May 2020
The Governance Commission will hold its first meeting at Plantation House next Wednesday afternoon, 13 May 2020, at 1pm. It will comprise of five members drawn from across the St Helena community: Martin Henry, Christine Thomas, Cyril Gunnell, Belinda Piek and Vince Thompson. Members have been invited at the Governor’s discretion after a confidential consultation with others. Two youth members have also been invited to attend, subject to their education commitments. The Commission will be supported by a secretariat drawn from the Governor’s Office and legal advisors from the Attorney General’s Chambers.
The Governance Commission is an ad-hoc body with no formal powers. It has been set up by the Governor to advise him, elected representatives and the wider community on the details of the two alternative governance systems, a refreshed Committee system or a Ministerial system, described in the reports by Professor Sarkin. The Governance Reform Project is intended to identify how we could achieve greater clarity in our future system of governance on who is accountable and responsible for making and delivering decisions and for decisions to be made more speedily than happens at present.
Governor Rushbrook commented:
“I am looking to the Commission to translate the ideas and analyses presented in the Professor Sarkin reports into clear options for the people of St Helena to decide how they might wish to be governed in the future. Many people have mentioned to me the present arrangements seem slow and confusing. The work of this Commission is to try to define and set out as clearly as possible a better arrangement for the future.”
The changes and details recommended by the Commission for each of the two governance options would ultimately be published and presented to the people of St Helena for the next stage in the reform process: a public decision on the preferred future governance system to be made either by consultation or a referendum.
The Governance Commission is a unique body and only planned to have six meetings. Nevertheless, its recommendations may have a significant influence on St Helena for long into the future.
Governor’s Office, St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
8 May 2020