St Helena Online

Christine wins by-election on a 19% turnout

Christine Scipio-O’Dean has emerged as the clear winner of the by-election to choose a new legislative councillor on St Helena, following the resignation of Tara Thomas.

She becomes one of only two female councillors, alongside Bernice Olsson.

She polled 101 votes, more than the combined total for her opponents Eric George (54 votes) and Lionel Williams (30 votes) – both of whom are former councillors.

After the result was declared, she told Tony Leo of Saint FM she was “very tired”.

She said: “I am glad it is all over, and looking forward to the challenges ahead.

“I would just like to stick to my main principles, and that is to provide better educational opportunities, make sure the vulnerable are protected against the rapid increases were are seeing [in the cost of living], and enhance the partnership between government, civil society and the private sector.

“I would like to thank the people in the east who have given up their valuable time to vote today, despite bad weather. I would also like to thank people on the west for their kind encouragement.

“I look forward to working with my new colleagues for a short period – a very difficult period. Tough decisions will have to be made to ensure a better life for St Helena.”

Eric George said he was “disappointed, obviously, but the best man wins – best woman in this case. She did a good job by the look of it and she came out on top.”

Asked whether he would stand in the 2013 general election, he said: “I will see how my health is.”

Lionel Williams said: “Everybody is disappointed in the turnout. The weather isn’t all that good outside for election day.”

Voter apathy on St Helena: ‘There’s something seriously wrong’

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  • It is always very disappointing when an electorate does not engage with the election process. Many people literally laid down their lives to allow us this freedom, we do them a great disservice by not exercising it. Watching from afar it appears that the actions(or inactions) of the SHG have a significant part to play. The serious lack of transparent modern local government and an apparent wish to control the press are very worrying. Governor Capes, while receiving plaudits from his boss, does not appear to be making progress in modernising SHG, but would apparently like to see it operate as in the days of the empire ! I may of course be doing him a great disservice but that it is the way it appears, to an interested observer.

    As SHG is funded both by the UK Government and the EU, I am quite surprised that they are allowed to operate in many of the ways that they do. EU competition rules should have prevented the setting up of a state sponsored media organisation as being anti competitive. The lack of transparency is another issue which would not be tolerated in the UK, so why should it be tolerated in St Helena. Local government where I live, in the Shetland Islands, has to come up to the same standard as expected nationally. We are a smallish community of around 22000 spread over a number of islands. We have very similar issues of conflicts of interest and family differences that supposedly are a barrier to transparency in St Helena. They are not. If people, as they must, adopt an adult and forward thinking attitude there is no reason that St Helena cannot operate to the same or higher standards than the UK.

    Maybe it is time that myself and other UK taxpayers, took the time to write to our MP’s, asking them to take a greater interest in the governance of St Helena as well as the other Overseas Territories.

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