Paul McGinnety, former Interim Director of the Environment & Natural Resources Directorate (photo attached), has today been appointed to the new post of Assistant Chief Secretary, Performance. This post replaces that of Director of Strategic Policy and Planning, vacated by Susan O’Bey in February 2014.
The post of Assistant Chief Secretary will be vital in supporting SHG in delivering its short, medium and long term strategic goals as the Island enters a defining period in her long and proud history.
To ensure that Government becomes more effective and efficient, the Assistant Chief Secretary will have a strong corporate policy and planning focus, will implement improvements across SHG and build strong relationships between SHG and DfID, ESH, the private sector and civil society.
Commenting on his appointment, Paul McGinnety said:
“It is clear to me that SHG needs to continue to modernise, maximise the impact of all available resources and tightly focus on delivery of our key objectives, while ensuring we protect vulnerable groups.
“It’s vital as the Island moves forward that we achieve sustainable economic, environmental and social improvements, particularly at this time of change. I’m looking forward to leading on this important area of our work, partnering with all our key stakeholders, including the public.”
Saturday 19 April 2014 saw St Helena’s new offshore fishing vessel reach the Island at around 5:30 pm, to an enthusiastic welcome party of around 200 people.
Terry Richards, General Manager of the Fisheries Corporation, commented:
“The seven day journey from Hout Bay to St Helena was uneventful except for a period on Wednesday when the vessel was dead in the water, due to the raw seawater pump malfunctioning. But thanks to the ingenuity of the Skipper, Trevor Thomas, and Engineer, Errol Thomas, the problem was soon rectified and the Extractor resumed her journey after 2 ½ hours.
“The vessel proved to be very responsive and handled all sea conditions encountered with ease. Hopefully she will continue to do so and be an effective fishing platform when commercial fishing commences.”
The Extractor, built in 1998, is 22 metres in length. The welcome party was given a brief demonstration in St James’ Bay of her handling ability, followed by clearance by Customs and Immigration officials.
Lead Skipper, Trevor (Otto) Thomas, and crew members Waylon Thomas, Peter Benjamin, Errol Thomas, and Terry Richards, were presented with a St Helena Flag for the MFV Extractor by Cllr Lawson Henry, Chairman of the Economic Development Committee.
Following the presentation, the crew was welcomed by a reception at the St Helena Yacht Club, where Councillor Henry, Terry Richards, Trevor Thomas and Rob Midwinter all commented on the significance of the Extractor’s arrival at St Helena and thanked all who supported the crew during their time away.
Robert Midwinter, Director of Enterprise St Helena, said:
“The arrival of the ‘MFV Extractor’ marks a real turning point in the economic development of the Island’s fisheries. Not only does it allow local fishermen to target our seamounts, but it also provides us with a platform on which we can re-build the industry, including opportunities for training, scientific monitoring, and the policing of our waters. The Extractor will also provide a measure of assurance for those smaller vessels that are capable of going further offshore.”
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office invites nominations for the 2015 New Year Honours List.
Persons wishing to submit nominations for the 2015 New Year Honours are reminded that the overriding principle is that honours are awarded on merit for exceptional achievement or any service recently carried out over and above what normally is expected.
Where possible, nominations should place emphasis on voluntary services. It should also be noted that age is not a factor in awarding Honours and younger members of the community who have made an outstanding contribution or have given exceptional service should not be overlooked. It is important that nominations are kept confidential and that nominees are not made aware that they are being proposed for award of an Honour.
Nomination forms are available from Mrs Carol George, Corporate Services Executive Manager. Completed forms should be returned to the Executive Secretary, Honours Committee at the Castle – in a sealed envelope, marked confidential, by Friday, 16 May 2014.
The public are advised that from 4pm Thursday 17 April 2014 the Wharf will be closed to vehicles. Pedestrians are still allowed to pass the barriers, for the traditional Maundy Thursday fishing activities.
The port authority has authorised this closure until the RMS’s departure – expected to be on Thursday 24 April 2014.
The public are thanked in advance for their cooperation.
The price for a full British passport changed on 7 April 2014. The previous and new prices are as follows:
Full British (Adult)
Full British (Child)
Full British (48 page)
In addition to the above, there is currently a handling charge of £18.80 per passport. Applications dated prior to 7 April 2014 will be processed at the previous prices. The timescale for delivery of a new passport following despatch from St Helena is three months.
St Helena British Overseas Territory Citizen type passports, issued by the Immigration Office on Island, are not affected by this price change. The price for these passports will continue to be £40 for each adult and £20 for each child.
Executive Council met today, Wednesday 16 April, with two items on the Open Agenda.
The first item was the proposal to increase Government Landlord Housing rental by £1 per week, effective from 1 July 2014. It was noted that this will have no impact on IRB and BIP recipients. Executive Council approved this proposal.
The second item sought to reinstate the requirement for certain types of development applications to be referred to ExCo for approval. These are generally large scale infrastructure projects that are crucial to the economic development of the Island. Executive Council agreed that it is important to retain political oversight of such projects and agreed that a directive should be issued to the Chief Planning Officer.
On the Closed Agenda, the St Helena Maritime Sector Review from Marine Maven was discussed. The report had made a number of recommendations and these had been considered by the Economic Development Committee. Not all recommendations had been agreed and the report and a press release outlining the agreed actions from SHG will be published soon.
On behalf of Legislative Council I would like to wish you all a happy, chocolaty and safe Easter.
St Helena yesterday hosted a one day visit for two major French warships – the 21,300 ton Force Projection & Command Ship ‘FS Mistral’ and the advanced Frigate ‘FS La Fayette’. The ships have been deployed since March (until July 2014) and stopped at St Helena while on Mission Jeanne d’Arc in the South Atlantic.
Both vessels arrived in James’ Bay at 07.00hrs yesterday morning. Embarkation of Navy personnel took place soon after with over 800 Soldiers and Sailors in full uniform coming ashore for tours of St Helena, including the Napoleonic Sites of the Briars Pavilion, the Tomb and Longwood House.
A programme had been drawn up for the day by the Governor’s Office, working with the French Consul and Officers onboard both vessels.
Activities included a media call to the Mistral where the local press were invited onboard the 199 metre vessel for a full tour. Highlights included viewing the Helicopter Hangar which can house up to 16 heavy helicopters (yesterday the ship carried five), and the Hospital area which is fitted with two surgical units, comprehensive technical facilities and 69 medical beds. The medical facilities can be expanded with additional medical shelter in the Helicopter Hangar. The media were also able to tour the Bridge and Storage Decks – home to all deployment equipment and capable of holding up to 110 armoured vehicles or 13 main battle tanks.
Members of the public (who had won tickets by various radio quizzes) and groups of schoolchildren were able to visit the Mistral in the afternoon. HE Governor and Mrs Capes and other distinguished guests were also invited onboard – taken by helicopter – for an official lunch.
A special ceremony was held at the Tomb in the afternoon, with around 150 French Military and many spectators in attendance. Governor Capes made a special address to the French Military where he officially welcomed them to St Helena and spoke of the Island’s connection with France and what a memorable occasion today was for both visitors and residents alike. French Navy Visit – Governor’s Remarks at Napoleons Tomb, 15 April 2014.
Commenting after the ceremony, Captain of the Mistral, Francois-Xavier Polderman, remarked:
“Coming to St Helena is a very rare experience and I think you could feel all around this Tomb that it was very moving for all the soldiers and sailors who were here. We were happy to celebrate our dead soldiers and sailors of all times.
“I have definitely enjoyed myself it has been a wonderful experience. I never thought I would be able to live this.”
Captain of La Fayette Serge Bordarier, added:
“It is a great pleasure to be here and a great experience. The discovery of this Island is for us like a dream, when we were children we dreamed of coming here, so for us it was a very emotive ceremony held here.”
Following the ceremony, both Captains answered questions from the media. Navy personnel then travelled to Longwood House where a reception was hosted by Honorary French Consul Michel Dancoisne-Martineau.
Throughout the day, Island residents were able to glimpse various helicopters as they flew over the Island taking photographs and embarking and disembarking Ships’ personnel. Both ships departed the Island at 19.30hrs last evening after a most successful port call in St Helena.
photos are attached to this release.
Notes for Editors
From March to July 2014 an amphibious group composed of the LHD Mistral and the FLF La Fayette will be strategically positioned in the Atlantic Ocean where military operations and bilateral actions will be conducted. During this time, the trained officers from the French Naval Academy class of 2011, as well as foreign officers, will carry out their first major operational deployment. The aim is to give these young officers a solid foundation in military leadership and seamanship – thanks to the practical and
co-operational nature of the training and the experience of taking real responsibilities.
The Mistral is multifunctional. It is an assault helicopter carrier, an amphibious ship (able to deploy troops and vehicles) a NATO-certified Headquarters, a hospital ship (able to provide health support to combat operations or humanitarian emergencies) and a forward base for special forces.
Multi-mission Stealth Frigate La Fayette leads missions centred around knowledge and anticipation, crisis and conflict prevention, the maintenance of sovereignty in national waters and special operations and missions.
Recently some eagle-eyed Halcrow-workers (airport project management unit) spotted an unfamiliar plant growing at the airport construction site. A number of weeds were found growing in a consignment of coarse sand imported from Namibia which have been identified by Island botanist Phil Lambdon as a type of Ice plant new to the Island.
It appears that the heavy rains in March, followed by sunnier weather have prompted the germination of the ice plant seeds in sand which had been unpacked from containers and exposed to the elements.
Basil Read, working with Halcrow and ANRD, has implemented a full-scale biosecurity response:
All the growing plants have been pulled up, before they set seed
The infested sand consignment has been thoroughly checked over and will be used as quickly as possible in construction
Steps are being taken to ensure that future consignments of coarse sand have a lower risk of seed;
The construction site will continue to be routinely monitored.
Jill Key, Pest Control and Biosecurity Officer said:
“Imported sand is routinely inspected for insect pests, and on-site monitoring is in place to check for any weed seeds. We’re very grateful to Halcrow and Basil Read for their quick work in spotting this new weed and literally nipping it in the bud.”
If you spot any unfamiliar plant or insect, call the biosecurity team at the Agriculture and Natural Resources Division on 24724.
A new Deputy Headteacher for St Paul’s Primary School arrives on Tuesday 22 April 2014.
Nicky Adams (photo attached) will play a key leadership role in supporting Head Teacher Pat Williams and the team of Teachers and Assistants at St Paul’s Primary.
Director of Education and Employment Colin Moore said:
“This is a crucial appointment for St Paul’s. I am very pleased with the progress that the school has made over the last couple of years and I feel sure that with Nicky’s arrival we will see the school go from strength to strength.
“I know that the staff, pupils and parents of St Paul’s will give Mrs Adams a very warm welcome!”
Nicky is an experienced and successful Deputy Headteacher who has worked in various primary schools in Cape Town.
“I have had the privilege of teaching for the past 19 years in South Africa – these years being the most challenging but the most fulfilling years of my life. A new chapter in my life is now starting on St Helena and I am excited to continue this journey at St Paul’s Primary School.
“I am delighted to take up my position beside the Headteacher, staff, parents and pupils who will have my full co-operation and support as we work together. I am coming to the Island to help build the school up, to take it to greater heights and excellence in education.”
The St Helena Education Directorate is soon to welcome a new Adviser for Primary Education. Zoe Robinson (photo attached) will arrive on 22 April (succeeding Victoria Stapleton) and will play a leading role in helping the Education Directorate to respond to the many changes and challenges that Primary Education will experience over the next few years.
The English curriculum is one of these areas and Zoe will be working with Head Teachers and staff in the Primary Schools to ensure these changes are made smoothly and that primary schools continue to raise the standard of education for all children on St Helena.
Director of Education and Employment Colin Moore said: “I am delighted that Zoe will be joining us. She will be supporting our hard working and dedicated Primary School staff in a variety of ways, including supporting teaching and learning and advising on curriculum content. Zoe will also provide additional expertise and support to our Head Teachers. It is very fortunate that we also have an opportunity for her to work with Victoria over the next few weeks before Victoria completes her contract and leaves the Island.
“Providing the very best primary school education is a priority for me and the Directorate. We want to make sure that children and young people make the most of their opportunities as the Island’s economy begins to expand. A top quality primary education provides the platform to help us to achieve this.”
Zoe is a very experienced and successful primary school educationalist with extensive experience of working in UK primary schools. She commented: “I can’t wait to join the Education Directorate on St Helena. I am passionate about excellent, inclusive education and look forward to building on the successes already happening in the Primary Schools on the Island.
“My family (husband Jeremy and sons Alfie and Zach) and I are also keen to explore, learn about and become part of the St Helena community… although my youngest son, Zach, just wants to stay with Jonathan the Tortoise!”