Cathy Hopkins has been elected as Deputy Speaker of St Helena’s new Legislative Council.
She immediately took over the conduct of the inaugural meeting of the new council in the absence of the Speaker, Eric Benjamin, who had been receiving medical treatment in Cape Town.
She told councillors: “Being a member of legislative council brings huge responsiblities. The next few years are going to be tough for you.” She said the way the island moved forward with the building of its first airport was in their hands.
She said they should constantly ask themselves: “Am I listening? Am I hearing? Am I responding to what I hear? Am I offering the island the leadership it needs to bring change for the good?”
She also said there aim should not be to add to the abundance of those who had plenty, but ensure everyone on the island had all they needed in order to live.
Cathy had served as Speaker of the previous legislative council, losing her post when the council was abruptly dissolved without explanation by Governor Capes in April 2013.
She told new councillors she was resigning as chairman of the island’s Human Rights Capacity Building Committee, which came under the responsibilities of the new Speaker.
She said the committee was in the second year of working towards the introduction of human rights legislation for the island.
A number of human rights failings have been identified, including substandard conditions for prisoners, and inadequate right to freedom of expression – which includes the right to receive information that is currently kept secret by The Castle.