Executive Council met on Tuesday 27 August 2013 with four items on the agenda.
This was an open session of ExCo but no members of the public were in attendance.
The first item of business was the proposal to downgrade Wranghams from a Grade II to a Grade III Listed Building.
The reasons put forward for the downgrading included that it was currently a Grade II listed building and as such would only be available for long term leasing, whereas downgrading to Grade III would permit sale of the property with fewer restrictions on future development.
Executive Council did not agree that the downgrading procedure was appropriate and rejected the proposal. ExCo stated that in principle they did not wish to set a precedent for downgrading of properties for ease of sale. Wranghams is a significant cultural asset for the Island; it is of historic interest and merit. ExCo members recommended that Wranghams should be re-advertised and put back on the market at Grade II for a long term lease and that a survey be done of the building.
The second agenda item was to amend the Medical Practitioners (Qualifications) (Amendment No. 2) Regulations, 2013, to include Guatemala on the schedule. This was to enable the new surgeon due to arrive in September to practice medicine on St Helena. ExCo agreed the amendment.
The next two agenda items were for ExCo to consider and advise if two bills should be tabled as Government Business at the next formal meeting of Legislative Council.
One related to the Commissioner of Oaths Amendment Bill, 2013 to enable qualified lawyers to act as Commissioners of Oaths on St Helena. This will increase the number of Commissioners of Oaths available to the public and follows UK practice. ExCo agreed for the bill to be tabled at the next formal LegCo.
The second bill related to the Welfare of Children Amendment Ordinance, 2013. At present children who are to be adopted can only be placed for adoption on St Helena. The purpose of this amendment is to allow a Supreme Court Judge to place a child for adoption outside of St Helena if it is in the child’s best interests. For example if a child living on St Helena was orphaned and the nearest relative was in the UK then the child could be placed with their relative overseas. ExCo agreed for the bill to be tabled at the next formal LegCo.
The final item of business was a discussion about the need to have an open agenda in future ExCo meetings where appropriate. It was agreed that there would be a presumption in favour of openness but that certain matters, particularly those concerning individuals, would be discussed under a closed agenda.
The meeting finished around 10.30am.
Thank you for listening.
27 August 2013