Hospital and child safety highlighted as aid talks end

An aid grant of £13.55 million is being recommended for St Helena for year 2014/15 – a slight rise of £150,000 on the current year.

That is a drop in real terms, once inflation is taken into account, but St Helena Government (SHG) says the island is forecast to earn more money for itself.

An agreement was signed on Saturday, 18 January 2014, setting out objectives for the year after a week of talks with visiting officials from London.

Highlights of the aide-memoire include a requirement for hospital renovations to be carried out as soon as possible, and for work to be started on a longer-term hospital plan.

Recent findings of “significant child safeguarding issues” were also highlighted – though with no specific mention of sexual abuse.

The government is to ensure that an action plan is fully implemented “and that all children in St Helena are able to enjoy childhood.”

The agreed statement suggests too little has been done to encourage new businesses.

“More could be done to provide effective and co-ordinated business planning advice,” it says, ” and to ensure that there is an appropriate supply of credit to the private sector.”

The RMS St Helena is also to be “protected” with a proposed subsidy close to £4 million and a promise from the UK to pay for essential works to keep the ship fit for service.

No mention is made of the future of shipping for the island once the airport opens in 2016.

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