Commonwealth Day 2024 Celebrated on St Helena

Commonwealth Day 2024 was celebrated today on St Helena. Celebrations focused on assemblies held at Prince Andrew School (PAS) and the three island primary schools. Commonwealth Day is celebrated across the Commonwealth each year on every second Monday of March. This year’s Commonwealth Day theme is ‘One Resilient Common Future: Transforming our Common Wealth’.

During the assembly at PAS, the Speaker of the House and St Helena Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Branch President, Cyril Gunnell, delivered a welcoming speech. He spoke about 2024 having a continued focus on young people, noting that this was a continuation from last year’s focus as we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Commonwealth Youth Programme.

Speaker Gunnell, in his welcoming speech said:

“The Commonwealth Day theme for 2024 is ‘One Resilient Common Future:  Transferring our Common Wealth’. This year’s theme highlights how we must harness our strengths by building resilience, unlocking potential, leveraging the Commonwealth advantage and fostering a connected digital Commonwealth.”

“Our common future must be both built for, and shaped by, young people. I have confidence in the ability of our young people and I look forward to the restoration of a St Helena Youth Parliament. I truly believe this platform will provide a stable foundation to empower our young people.”

Acting Governor, Stephen Thwaites, read the message from Head of the Commonwealth, His Majesty King Charles III. Attorney General, David Ballantyne, read a message from the Right Honourable Patricia Scotland KC, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations, and PAS Student Council Vice President, Erik Robbertse, read the Commonwealth Affirmation.

This year marks the 75th year of the Commonwealth of Nations. To celebrate and discuss the challenges we as a Commonwealth have overcome in the past 75 years and those we strive to overcome in the future, guest speakers were invited to speak about the following focus areas:

  • A resilient environment to combat climate change
  • Resilient economies that support recovery and prosperity
  • Resilient democratic institutions upholding human rights, democracy, and the rule of law
  • Resilient societies to empower individuals for a peaceful and productive life

Guest speakers included Environmental Officer Terri Clingham, Investment Coordinator Kyle Snow, Equality and Human Rights Commissioner Catherine Turner and Division Commissioner for Girl Guiding St Helena Pamela Ward-Pearce. 

The assembly concluded with closing remarks from Councillor Gilly Brooks.

Shortly after, Speaker Gunnell raised the Commonwealth Flag at the Francis Plain Pavilion as part of the ‘Fly a Flag for the Commonwealth’ initiative. This initiative aims to inspire participants to join with others throughout the Commonwealth, a family of 56 member states, which has a combined population of 2.5 billion, with more than 60% aged 29 or under, representing around a third of the world’s Commonwealth’s population.

Commonwealth Day assemblies were also held at the island primary schools. They were attended by Elected Members of the Legislative Council who read His Majesty The King’s Commonwealth Day message.

Our St Helena Government UK Representative, Kedell Worboys, has also been invited to attend several engagements to commemorate Commonwealth Day in the UK. Yesterday, Mrs Worboys was joined by Councillor Karl Thrower at a reception hosted by The Right Honourable Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP at The Speaker’s House. This was followed by dinner in Central Lobby to mark the 75th anniversary of the Commonwealth of Nations.

This morning, the delegation attended the Commonwealth 75th Anniversary Flag Raising ceremony in Parliament, and will also attend the Commonwealth Observance at Westminster Abbey in the afternoon.

Mrs Worboys will be attending a reception at Marlborough House this evening, hosted by the Commonwealth Secretary General, to celebrate the Commonwealth Year of the Youth and commemorate our 75th year as a family of nations.


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St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470