St Helena shows UK the way with fizzy drinks tax

St Helena appears to be showing Britain the way to tackle obesity, by introducing a sugar tax. A levy on high-sugar drinks was announced in the island’s budget in the very month that England’s chief medical officer warned that the British government might have to consider such a measure. But Dame Sally Davies said she […]

UK ‘doesn’t even know’ about island eco threats, say MPs

The UK has been accused by a Westminster committee of failing to protect endangered plants and creatures in its overseas territories. The Environmental Audit Committee said the UK was not taking proper responsibility for the 517 globally threatened species in its care. Its chairman, Joan Walley MP, said: “The UK government doesn’t even know precisely […]

Ninety days in a wilderness: election delayed until last moment

The restoration of democratically-elected government on St Helena is to be delayed until the last possible week. A general election is to take place on St Helena on 17 July 2013 – two days short of the 13-week deadline allowed under the island’s constitution.  Governor Mark Capes dissolved the island’s Legislative Council without warning on […]

St Helena votes NO in chief councillor poll

On Saturday 23 March 2013, a Poll was held on St Helena, on the question of a Chief Councillor, raised in the recent discussion paper ‘Improving Democracy and Accountability’ To the Question: Should St Helena have a Chief Councillor who can select the Executive Council? The results were as follows: YES – 42 votes NO […]

UK group backs campaign to end secrecy in The Castle

Graphic showing rubber stamps saying "restricted" etc, crossed out

A call for more open government on St Helena has been backed by a leading group in the UK. In a message of support, Katherine Gundersen of the London-based Campaign for Freedom of Information says open, honest debate leads to better decision-making. It could also help to reduce public distrust of government. An increasing number […]

Welcome to St Helena – a tax dodger’s paradise?

What’s the difference between St Helena and a billionaire’s financial playground? Nothing, to judge by a jibe from the British Labour MP Denis MacShane. In a Parliamentary Question on the recent overseas territories White Paper, he asked: “Can the Minister confirm that there are two banks, mutual funds or tax-dodging offshore companies for every citizen […]

£46,000 a year to make island finances more transparent

An adviser is being recruited to help deal with weaknesses in St Helena’s public services. The job will include making the island’s budget system more transparent. The £46,000-a-year role is to guide the modernising of public service on the island – in an affordable way. It includes developing a new approach to budgeting, looking to […]

St Helena Online joins a campaign for transparency

Ignorance may be bliss, but it’s not good for democracy. St Helena’s elected councillors are making decisions that will set the course of the island’s future, but we are rarely told what they will talk about in advance. That means people cannot voice their own concerns, and possibly raise problems that the officials in The […]

‘We honour the spirit of freedom act’ says The Castle

St Helena Government says it is committed to open government, even though it has not adopted the UK’s Freedom of Information laws. It said: “We do honour the spirit and intent of the Act, but without adopting its cumbersome formality. This is simply a practical reality particular to the island. “Within our limited resources we […]

UK offers to help reduce offenders’ risk to island society

St Helena and other Overseas Territories are being offered help to deal with criminals who need specialist treatment to manage their behaviour – including sex offenders. The UK government’s White Paper says smaller territories often lack facilities to treat people who need such help, though it does not say whether this is the case for […]