From Trevor Botting, Director of Policing:

‘As a result of an ongoing investigation, this morning a 50 year old man of Jamestown, St Helena, was today charged with a number of offences that allegedly took place between 1990 and 2006. These charges relate to allegations of sexual offences against a single victim, who was aged under 10 years when the offending allegedly began.

‘The St Helena Police Service, working with partners, volunteer agencies and the community is committed to the investigation of sexual offences. Anyone affected by this type of crime or who may have information useful to the Police, can speak to one of my team and they will be treated sensitively and in confidence by the Police and the other agencies that provide care and support during and beyond any investigation.’

The Police Confidential Helpline is 22888.

SHG

19 November 2013

 

One of the objectives of St Helena’s Sustainable Development Plan is to facilitate private, public, tourist and business development across the Island through an improved public transport system.

To meet this objective a review of the public transport system was carried out in 2012 and an expanded trial system incorporating home to duty transport for Health shift workers and the public transport system began earlier this year- replacing routes A, B, C and the Rupert’s route.

Since its introduction the trial service, provided by Joshua’s Taxis, has been extended and refined twice and is to be further extended until 31 January 2014. The success of the expanded service will continue to be reviewed.

The trial service does not affect services to Blue Hill and Sandy Bay operated by Solomons and Colin’s Garage. However these routes have also been continuously reviewed and as a result the Blue Hill route will cease to operate from 20 January 2014.

The Sandy Bay route will continue to operate and the contract with Colin’s Garage has been extended to March 2015.

SHG

19 November 2013

The work of GIS, or ‘Geographical Information Systems’, has been celebrated on St Helena since 2007 in a special, earmarked GIS Day. Held every year on the third Wednesday in November, GIS Day is also recognised in the UK and United States – with the aim of demonstrating to the public how important GIS is and how GIS affects our day-to-day lives.

St Helena has its own GIS Office, run by five staff members. This year the GIS team will hold an Open House Gallery at their Office in Essex House, Jamestown, on Wednesday 20 November 2013. Acting GIS Manager, Murray Henry, explains what to expect on the day: “This year there will be displays about what GIS is and how it works, and the equipment. There will also be some hands on demonstrations on the computers to get the public involved and have a play around with the software.”

In the six years since GIS Day has been celebrated on the Island it has been well received by the public and by children. The GIS team this year hopes that the day will be buzzing, with people wanting to learn more about how the GIS software works and how it helps both the St Helena Government and the general public.

This year’s theme is ‘The Importance of Data Sharing’ which Murray explains is very important to GIS: “Sharing data with the GIS Office is important, for example in terms of water infrastructure on the Island. Currently we do not have as much digital data on water infrastructure as we should and we are now in the process of working with Connect Saint Helena to survey all the water lines and produce a digital map showing the specific location of the various water lines throughout the Island.”

Murray has recently returned from a GIS Conference in Gibraltar where he was able to learn how other Overseas Territories use GIS. He commented: “A lot of the Overseas Territories use GIS in different ways but there was one Territory that worked similarly to the GIS Office here – but using a wider range of technology. It was good to see how everyone uses GIS, for example in planning or environmental work.” Something that Murray learnt while at the conference that he hopes to introduce to the GIS Office on St Helena is a new piece of software called QGIS.

Murray explained: “QGIS is the same type of system we use here but it’s free, so whilst we have to pay for some things you can get real benefits from free software. We will be exploring whether we can implement this into our GIS Office to save costs on software.” Interested to learn more about GIS? Then don’t forget that Wednesday 20 November is GIS Day.

Why not go along to the GIS Office and have a browse, you never know what interesting facts you may discover.

SHG 18 November 2013

Open to the Public from 9.30am

Executive Council will meet on Tuesday 19 November 2013, in the Council Chamber. 

Commencing at 9.30am, the meeting will open to the public for the first agenda item, Revoking of Customs Exemption.

 

Executive Council Members are: Ian Rummery, Cyril George, Christine Scipio O’Dean, Leslie Baldwin and Derek Thomas (in Lawson Henry’s absence).   

SHG

15 November 2013

Every year, the Commonwealth Essay Competition encourages and inspires young writers to submit their stories from all over the world.  This year was a record breaking year for the competition with entries exceeding 11,000 and over 70 judges involved in selection.

The competition, free and open to Commonwealth citizens worldwide aged 18 or under, offers the opportunity for young people to get their voices heard.  All winners and special commendations of Gold, Silver and Bronze receive certificates before the end of 2013.

This morning (13 November) at Harford School a certificate presentation was held for student David Owen (now attending Prince Andrew School).  David was awarded Gold for his tale ‘Quick Thinking Saved the Day’. 

Head Teacher Carlene Crowie commented that David’s story was in the top 150 entries from a total of 11,000 across the Commonwealth and the only child from St Helena in this year’s competition to achieve this award – making it even more special.

Colin Moore, Director of Education and Employment, commented on David’s success:

“It’s an absolutely fantastic story.  On behalf of Harford we would like to say how proud we are of you and how pleased we are for you and I think there are a few children in the audience this morning who would also like to have a golden certificate one day as well.”

David spoke of his inspiration for the story:

 “I was reading this book, where this guy was going to this night club and he was dressing up as a vampire slayer with electric blue hair and it described him as very skinny and I suppose that’s where I got my inspiration from for the skeleton figures.”

Carlene gave further thanks to David’s previous teachers Ethel Benjamin (sadly no longer with us) and Marilyn Joshua, who helped him progress into a winning storyteller.

SHG
13 November 2013

 An Economic Development Committee meeting was held on 7 November 2013 in the Council Chamber at the Castle. Present at the meeting  was Deputy Chairman, Derek Thomas, Councillors Bernice Olsson, Gavin Ellick and Les Baldwin along with Interim Director of Environment and Natural Resources, Paul McGinnety, Financial Secretary, Colin Owen, Michielle Yon from Enterprise St Helena and Committee Secretary, Connie Johnson.

The meeting commenced with two items held in closed session – Acting Attorney General, Frank Wastell was present for the first item.

Following the discussion of these two items, the meeting was then opened to the public.

On the open agenda a request was made from the Farmers Association, as to what the long-term plans were in relation to water for irrigation purposes.  Connect Saint Helena reported that currently there are no plans to make any significant changes to the irrigation requirements, other than to maintain the systems already in place.  The Farmers Association will be advised that they should identify any future development requirements, which should then be properly costed and submitted for consideration as part of SHG’s Infrastructure Plans as a bid for Capital Project Funding.

The next item was a Fisheries Decision Paper presented by Head of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Division (ANRD), Darren Duncan, seeking support from the committee to prioritise under-spent funding (during the Budget Supplementary Appropriation – due to be held early in the New Year), to support the St Helena Fishermen’s Association. The money would be used for a stake in an offshore fishing vessel and for the St Helena Fisheries Corporation to purchase fishing equipment for the vessel. The committee was supportive of the request.

Finally, there was an update by Michielle Yon on the activities undertaken by Enterprise St Helena (ESH) during the past month.  The ESH annual programme continues to progress in supporting local businesses and agriculture. Under the Public Private Partnership with ANRD and ESH, one application has been approved, with a further three anticipated this month. Support has also been given in fruit tree propagation and work has started with the Growers Co-operative to increase storage for local produce.  In relation to potential hotel developers and investor interests, draft copies of the Cost Benefit Analysis and Independent Investor Study reports had been received – ESH has provided feedback on these reports and is now awaiting the final copies due later this month.

Derek Thomas

Deputy Chairman

Economic Development Committee

SHG

12 November 2013

‘School Spruce’, a community based project aiming to visually and physically improve St Helena’s three primary schools, started in August of this year.

Since then St Paul’s, Harford and Pilling Primary Schools, along with St Helena Government, the private sector, St Helena National Trust, Enterprise St Helena, civil society, parents, teachers and the children themselves – have all been working together to plan how they would like each of their schools to be improved.

One of the main areas identified for improvement is the play facilities at each school and the project will provide a play area for each school with the help of volunteers, and using donated recycled materials.

At Harford Primary School a Sponsored Spell will take place on Monday 25 November to support the school’s literacy programme and raise funds for the project. A working group comprising parents and other volunteers has been established and donations for playground equipment have been received. The school is now organising a building day for early in the New Year.

At Pilling Primary the playground at the Education Learning Centre has been secured for additional play space and a business plan has been submitted and monies approved for improvement. A Sponsored Walk and a dolphin trip has also been organised by the school in partnership with parents to secure additional funding for the project.  A Working Group of parents is now voluntarily building playground equipment with the actual building of the playground due to take place in the New Year.

St Paul’s Primary will this Saturday (16 November), start building the Early Years’ playground. On the day, parents and other volunteers will be preparing the playground, levelling, sanding, cleaning, cutting, painting tyres, and building structures. Endemics will also be planted on the day. A pot of pilau will be provided for all the hard workers.

Project Lead, Paul McGinnety said:

“It’s all good news with the School Spruce project – we are moving forward and it is excellent to see everyone working together to make a difference.”

SHG

12 November 2013

St Helena Government is seeking comments from the public on a range of new housing policies. Among these new policies is an improvement in the way that SHG decides who to house.

Housing Executive, Andy Crowe explained:

“At the moment, we have a complicated points system and we want to simplify it and limit it to those actually in need of housing and those who cannot afford to buy on the open market.

“We would like to give priority to local people in overcrowded, unhealthy housing as well as those at risk of homelessness, with additional priority to people who have a health problem which their current situation makes worse. We also want to direct those who register to the housing opportunities that best suit their needs.

“If an applicant can afford discounted market housing or to build their own home then we will add them to the waiting list for that type of housing. This will then help us to decide how many such homes we need to help create.”

More detail on the new housing policies are contained in a report submitted to the Social Community and Development Committee. To view a copy of the full report or to have a face to face discussion of the ideas being promoted, please contact Andy Crowe at Essex House or by phone on 22270.

The deadline for comments is 30 November 2013.

SHG will be inviting comments on the other proposals over the next three weeks.

SHG

12 November 2013

 As part of our ongoing commitment to improving services within SHG, The Post Office & and Customer Service Centre (CSC) we will be introducing a number of changes that will be both visible to the public and behind the scenes. 

Customers will are informed that from 1 November 2013, the Post Office & Customer Service Centre has new opening times from 08:30 to 15:45 Mondays to Fridays and Saturdays from 08:30 to 12:00.  This will give 5 additional hours per week for the public to access Post registry, licensing and other key services. 

Income Related Benefits and Basic Island Pension recipients will also be pleased to know that we have from 1 November 2013 introduced a second point for the collection of benefits in the CSC and will also offer an express till service for up to three transactions.  This aims to alleviate congestion and provide a quicker, more efficient service. 

From voyage 199 of the RMS St Helena from Ascension Island, International mail will not be issued on the same day as arrival.  Instead, International mail will be available to the public 24 hours after the arrival of the ship.  This will allow Post & Customer Services Centre staff to appropriately sort and organise incoming mail to provide a faster service to customers collecting mail.

We wish to advise customers that due to the stock of Christmas issue stamps from previous years, we will not be releasing new stamps for Christmas this year. Stamps will be issued from the previous three years.  The accumulated stocks of Christmas stamps depict a number of themes: Island Places 2010, RFA Ships 2011 and Christmas Carols 2012.

Christmas stamps and other stamps are available from the Post & Customer Services Centre at the Post Office Building in Jamestown or from sub Post Offices around the Island.

A list of the various issues and stamps is given below. 

2010 Island Places                                     2011 RFA Ships

 

High Knoll Fort                                             RFA Gold Rover

Heart Shaped Waterfall                              RFA Black Rover

Diana’s Peak                                                RFA Darkdale

Jacob’s Ladder.                                            RFA Lyme Bay.

 

2012 Christmas Carols

While Shepherds Watch

Silent Night, Holy Night

Away in a Manager

Little Town of Bethlehem.

 

SHG

11 November 2013

Governors Deputy lays the Territory's Wreath
Governors Deputy lays the Territory’s Wreath

The traditional Remembrance Day Service was held at the Cenotaph on the seafront yesterday.

Held to remember those who have fallen in the two World Wars and later conflicts, the service drew a large congregation of people to pay their respects to those who had lost their lives fighting for their country.

Led by the Right Reverend Lord Bishop of St Helena, Dr Richard Fenwick, the commemoration began with the customary march of the Island’s uniformed contingents from the Canister to the Cenotaph.  This was followed by the laying of the wreaths on the Cenotaph.

Remembrance Sunday
Remembrance Sunday

The Territory’s Wreath was laid by Governor’s Deputy, Owen O’Sullivan and official wreaths were also laid for the French Republic, the Royal Navy, the Army, the Royal Air Force, the Merchant Navy, the St Helena Police Force and the St Helena Fire and Rescue Service. Members of the public were then able to lay their tributes on the Cenotaph.

The Service concluded with the traditional March Past outside the Supreme Court.

In London, St Helena also took part in the Remembrance Day commemorations as St Helenian Ex-Servicemen paraded on Horseguards’ Parade yesterday.

St Helena Ex-Service Man Cyril Brooks
St Helena Ex-Service Man Cyril Brooks

St Helenian Cyril Brooks (photo attached) was one of the Ex-Servicemen who marched in London yesterday. Cyril left the Island at the age of 17 in 1944, Cyril joined the Royal Navy and was stationed at the naval base in Simons Town, South Africa. In 1947 he served on the cruiser HMS Nigeria which escorted HMS Vanguard with the Royal Family on an official tour. Cyril left the Navy in 1948, and moved to the UK in 1949. He was a founder member of the St Helena Association, and served on the committee for 50 years before retiring as Vice President in 2011.

Three photos are attached to this release.

SHG

11 November 2013