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St Helena Tourism and Enterprise St Helena – Good bye “The last from us”

Enterprise St Helena and the St Helena Tourism team shot what looks like their final moving St Helena promotional video  which was posted online today.

Staff from Enterprise St Helena and St Helena Tourism with brave faces waved goodbye to the camera  with their usual smiley faces, but no doubt it came with heavy hearts as staff left their offices and job positions for the final time today.

A large percentage of the ESH and St Helena Tourism staff had spent over ten years working for the organisation promoting and working on investment strategies for St Helena including the 2019 investment prospectus that documented some of the possibilities for St Helena. 

The responsibilities of investment and Tourism for St Helena will now be managed by The St Helena Government.

There is no official word on how St Helena’s tourism will operate in the future, however the St Helena Government had previously announced a tender for the opportunity for private sector interest to manage the St Helena’s Visitor Information Service (St Helena Tourism)  ‘Destination St Helena’ This contract was said to be worth up to £100,000, and it was state to be in place from the 1st April 2021(tomorrow) until 2024. 

Staff from the ESH and the tourism team also post final day photos and goodbyes on Social media reminiscing of their achievements and workplace memories over the years, unfortunately as a  result of the decision to close Enterprise St Helena and St Helena Tourism, staff are now made redundant.

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saintel

Saintel the ISP on St Helena post fibre optic cable delivery

saintel

‘Saintel’ St Helena’s new potential internet service and communication provider announced this week that they are launching their new business venture as an Island wide Internet service provider tailored for the future needs of St Helena.

The Wireless thinking provider has promised that everyone from residential to business users on St Helena will benefit from the 21st century capability that is due for rollout in 2023 providing they can get the government’s approval to deliver the service.

The question you might ask as a local internet user or visitor returning to St Helena in the future is what is going to be different about Saintel.

Forward thinking and long-time campaigner of internet connectivity to St Helena Christian von der Ropp together with Karl Thrower, a local business owner here on St Helena, who is behind the Saintel venture have set up the provider to operate as a non-profit organisation.

Saintel’s vision is to offer eighty percent of the Islands population the option to connect to the Saintel wireless high speed network within the first 12 months, they are also keen to share their network capability with international tech companies who want to trial and develop other technologies within the industry.

Some of Saintel’s published business objectives once the fibre optic cable is connected to St Helena are:

  • To provide affordable, reliable, high speed access to residential and businesses users on St Helena through a non-profit entity.
  • Support the Island community, embracing the digital transformation.
  • Help to mitigate the issues arising from St Helena‘s remoteness through the many new possibilities offered by the Internet.
  • Increase digital literacy and develop local skill sets through the correct training in digital technology.
  • Stop capital outflow (a key economic problem here on St Helena) caused by monopolist‘s dividend payments to its overseas parent. Instead, help to create more local circulation of money
  • Support the global Information and Communications Technology industry to trial new technologies, applications and products.
  • Collaborate with potential satellite earth station operators (infrastructure sharing) to unlock synergies and make St Helena more attractive to earth station operators.

Saintel will be incorporated under the laws of St Helena as a non-profit Private Limited Company by Guarantee. Saintel’s vision is to enable one of the most isolated communities in the world to join the global Information Society and to leapfrog into the broadband age and contribute to closing St Helena‘s digital divide.

Saintel’s plan or the market entry  of any another communications service provider on St Helena will only be possible if SHG allow competition by removing the exclusivity clause provided in Sure’s current license

Note the current exclusive public telecommunications licence with Sure SA Ltd will expire at the end on 31 December 2022, so no new provider could start operation before 2023

St Helena Government is in the process of a tender process to determine the next Public Electronic Communication Networks and Services provider/s for the Island.

St Helena online welcome any thoughts on expectations as a customers post fibre optic cable delivery on St Helena.  

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conference

The St Helena Conference – from Discovery to Discovery

The St Helena Conference
“From discovery to discovery” for one day only – 12 November 2020

A one-day conference ‘From Discovery to Discovery’ brings St Helena based organisations and researchers together to share and exchange knowledge and experience, show casing the diversity of research being conducted on land and sea.

This event which will be held on the 12th November 2020 at the St Helena Community College, Education Learning Centre, Jamestown, This event will mark the first year of operation of the St Helena Research Institute and seeks to celebrate the wide range of studies being undertaken and to highlight the benefits that research is bringing to society and our environment.

The speakers programme will include.

The behind the scenes look at historical research; an investigation into the genomes of Jonathan the Giant Tortoise, the oldest known living land animal, the Island’s honey bee, new discoveries of endemic invertebrates, bone sharks, tropic birds and in shore marine habitat mapping: trials and tribulations of agriculture on the Island, new studies developing control methods for alien invasive invertebrates and vertebrates, tourism marketing, health promotion and teenage well-being.

The event will conclude with an open discussion centred on the question “What is the role of Science, Research & Innovation?”

The conference is open to everyone on St Helena to attend in person.

Unlike other Island conference’s there will be no live coverage on Island or via the internet but presentations will be made available for the local radio and online.

Information about the conference programme and speakers are available on the St Helena Conference website: https://st-helena-conference.com/

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St Helena route

Competing in the London marathon on St Helena.

Neil Foster will join over 40000 other competitors from around the world to compete in the virtual London marathon on Sunday 04th October. Neil’s run will take place virtually on St Helena which is possibly the remotest participant joining the virtual marathon; St Helena is also going to be one of the most challenging places in the world to compete in any marathon due to the Islands very hilly terrain and size. Neil, the Canadian-born passionate runner describes living on St Helena, in the middle of the South Atlantic, as one of the most isolated remote places on earth.

Neil will have to run across the Island, touching three of the four sides, to meet his 26.2 mile goal to achieve the distance of the marathon. Neil will begin his run from a popular post box walk starting point at the South West of the Island before heading along Frenches Gut passing Cason’s forest towards the Sandy Bay Ridges, up to the summit of Diana’s peak (820m asl) continuing on towards Hutts Gate, and Longwood road passing the famous Napoleon’s house on the way to the St Helena Airport.

Neil chatting about his run with Aerobility online.

The run will include a run around the St Helena airport runway before completing the final leg of the marathon towards the newly built Airport haul road on to the final point in Rupert’s valley. Neil is also hoping to have live data tracking for most of the run.

The 26.2 mile marathon route (click to view) .

St Helena’s Active Participation in Enterprise, or SHAPE as they are more commonly known on St Helena, will be the main supporting body for Neil’s run on the day. SHAPE, is St Helena’s first and only social Enterprise charity which was established in 2008, SHAPE plays a crucial role in supporting the island’s disabled and vulnerable adults who could face social exclusion. SHAPE provides supportive training opportunities through environmentally friendly projects.

Neil’s run will raise money for the UK based Aerobility charity, which has similar social objectives to SHAPE on St HelenaThe Surrey based Aerobility organisation is a disabled flying charity that tackles the isolation that disability can sometimes lead to. Aerobility’s specially adapted aircraft flies from airfields around the UK and every year supports over 600 individuals. No doubt the community on St Helena will be behind Neil on his run, as St Helena is not only a special place for community spirit but also a great place for any challenge.

To support Neil’s challenge and to help disabled people to find their wings and help them to fly.  

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Jamestown-way

HUNKY DORY – The Jamestown way

The Jamestown way

Local song writer and musician Christian Castell who lives in St Helena releases his new fantastic single today “The Jamestown way” the catchy locally produced song will certainly be one of those that will get stuck into your head especially for anyone who can relate to the way of life on St Helena.

Chatting to Christian today, he said the song reflects the reality of living in Jamestown’s capital.

The song quotes some of the famous local lingo “hey how you doing?” The lyrics relates to Bobby playing his records by the castle and how Eddie ain’t the governor yet,  when I ask what that meant I was told that Eddie Duff is hoping to be the Governor of St Helena one day but it ain’t happen yet.

The song also reflects on Darkar days when there is no fish, but life goes on the Jamestown way. Christian said James Fantom deserves the praise for his amazing talent for helping to produce this great song the Jamestown way.

Local radio stations will play the song for the very first time today and you can hear the final production here. 

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Southern cross

St Helena fishing – The facts about about the investor

This is a discussion that talks about one of St Helena’s richest assets which is fishing.

PQ trading St Helena has been endorsed as the preferred investor to undergo fish processing on St Helena.

Some of the local community and local fishers are not happy with the proposal offered, they have vocally expressed their views on how the process to select an investor has been carried out and as a result the SHCFA made a decision to launched a petition to call on the Government to terminate the procurement. (The online petition can be found here)
If we rewind back to earlier this year, a press release was published to offer the opportunity for anyone to submit proposals to invest into the Islands fisheries.

After many months of monitoring the timeline of this process, it seems that this is a challenging task for both official’s, preferred investors and the commercial fishermen of St Helena.
During the time it took to try an establish a solution to find the right investor, the local fish processing factory was closed and that decision caused some disruption and created many impacts to the fishermen’s lively hood and the community of St Helena.

Although many press releases have been published by the SHCFA there has been no open media discussions with officials or PQ trading about the proposal.

Shortly after the petition was launched on Friday the 24th July, I invited PQ trading to speak with the St Helena podcast to have an open discussion around some of the topics that is causing concerns with in the St Helena community.

The invite was accepted and today’s discussion with the director of PQ trading explains and expands on many areas of fish processing in St Helena.
I believe this is the first time that any one from PQ trading has joined the conversation openly to talk about the proposal and what’s recommended and how St Helena will benefit from the investment.
Note: that I have no commercial invested interest in fishing on St Helena today nor do I have any professional skills in the industry but I believe it’s important that great communication is key to any partnering in commercial ventures. However, my only preferred result is a successful future for the industry, meeting all legal and best practises while conducting sustainable fishing and the results improves the lively hoods of my fellow saints that live on the Island.

I hope you find this conversation interesting and engaging comments are welcome.

As discussed in the podcast if anyone who is interested in reaching out to P Q trading the  Email address is here 

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Libby Weir Breen

Goodbye St Helena and Goodbye Island holidays

After 33 years of selling Island Holidays and selling St Helena as a destination to tourist worldwide, the owner Libby Weir Breen of the Scottish based, Island holiday company has announced that Island Holidays will cease trading on the 31st July 2020.

Libby who made over 16 trips to St Helena mentioned in her goodbye message that over the years many thousands had entrusted island holidays with their dreams and travel plans.

Jonathan the Tortoise
Libby & Jonathan

In speaking to Libby she said It’s also been a privilege to work with so many amazing people from all over the world including St Helena who was outstanding and care so deeply for their environment and their wildlife.

Incidentally Libby was on a tourist visit to St Helena in March 2020 and was actually on St Helena when the COVID-19 pandemic sweep the world causing disruptions to travel and her final St Helena trip that was so well planned she had to leave the Island without a farewell celebration,

Libby chatted with the St Helena podcast host recalling her 33 years of travel which focused mainly on her visit to the South Atlantic Island of St Helena, including Ascension and the Falkland Islands. During the podcast Libby talked about how it all began, her sea travel experience on board the RMS St Helena, her trip on the very first commercial flight to St Helena, and also her final visit on St Helena during the COVID19 pandemic.

The podcast is available on the St Helena podcast website www.thesthelenapodcast.com and also available on Spotify, via Apple and google podcast.

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Island wide petition decision to sort out fishing business on St Helena

St Helena’s Commercial Fisherman’s Association (SHCFA) has decided that it is now time to launch an Island wide petition with the intention of overturning and terminating the current process involving PQ Trading (SHG’s preferred investor to process fish on St Helena) and to call for an open and transparent process that ensures the security of all local fishermen both now and into St Helena’s fishing future.

This statement was released from the Fishermen’s Association as a result of a press release from the St Helena Government stating that in no uncertain terms the much awaited yellowfin and bigeye tuna total allowable catch Limits (TAC’s) have now been set and they have been set for the preferred bidder’s proposed Co-Op.

The St Helena Fisherman’s Association is frustrated as it appears that the external investor will be handed the Island’s only fish processing factory to include a large sum of tax payer’s money (that was allocated from SHG’s consolidated fund) to refurbish the fish factory for their operations, and now they are being allocated seemingly the entire allocation of yellowfin and bigeye tuna quota.

The Association also drew attention to the fact that the catch limits table for St Helena’s fishery was presented to the Economic Development Committee (EDC) on Thursday, 09th July seeking approval.  Interestingly however, it was made very clear by the Chair of EDC  at the beginning of this meeting that the total allowable catch limits for yellowfin and bigeye tuna would not be discussed as approval for these species had been established during the Executive Council meeting two days before.   Three committee members of EDC disputed this position, as they felt they were being asked to approve the table in its entirety and therefore had difficulty accepting that species included, would not form part of their decision making process.  This discontent presented them with the opportunity to ask a number of questions of the two Government Officers presenting the documentation who were the Director for Environment Natural Resources and Planning Directorate and the  Marine Conservation Officer.   

It was thought that some of the answers given were unsatisfactory and not well-founded, giving way for additional questions to be asked, which resulted  in EDC not being confident that the catch limits being presented was adequate or feasible.

The Association was appalled by the lack of proficiency shown and evidence presented at a time when decisions were being sought, which they believed to be totally unacceptable, especially when during the final stages of the meeting it was announced by the Chair of the Economic Development Committee that works towards finalising the Co-Op was in an “advance stage”. 

Tuna St Helena

As a result, following this meeting the SHCFA committee held a meeting with their members to provide them with an update on events unfolding, decisions that have recently been taken and an overview of the EDC meeting.  From this feedback it was unanimously decided that an island wide petition should be launched to call for the termination of the current process to take place which ensures that the security of every local fisherman both now and into the future.  The Association will also be asking that scientific advice designed to help achieve sustainability will actually be followed to ensure that the development of a ‘Brand St Helena’ is done so with integrity.   

Who is PQ Trading ?

 PQ Trading (STH) is now a St Helenian registered business. The directors are Johan-Marais Bezuidenhout and his father Johann Bezuidenhout. Johan-Marais Bezuidenhout started working in the fisheries in 1999, first in Plettenburg Bay for a Spanish Fish Exporter, followed by a position in South Africa’s biggest fish producing company, thereafter owning and operating a fish exporting company.

Is PQ Trading a long term investor?

PQ trading is a long term investor and is planning to build a profitable and sustainable fishing industry for St Helena.

.

More information here on the preferred investor to undertake fish processing

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Titan boeing

Could Titan be our next European Airline operator for St Helena

Today it was confirmed that Titan Airways has been selected to operate a second charter flight to St Helena on the 27th July 2020.

The charter flight will depart London Stansted and will stop over at Ascension Island on the way to St Helena. Inbound passenger numbers on this charter flight to St Helena is limited due to accommodation limitation for mandatory quarantine on arrival on Island, outbound passengers are also limited to a maximum of 140.

This is the second visit to St Helena for the British charter airline operator as they were contracted to fly COVID-19 test kits, staff and medical supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic on their Airbus A318 via Accra and Ascension Island in April 2020.

Cockpit of 757-200 – credit Bill Abbott

Titan was the first to land an Airbus A318 on St Helena and the second planned flight will see Titan utilise one of their two Boeing 757-200 aircraft.

This will also be the first time for a Boeing 757-200 to land on St Helena, incidentally the 757-200 is identically to the aircraft that is privately owned by the US president Donald trump except its configured to carry more passengers and probably don’t cost as much. Footage and a full blog post from Titans  first arrival and landing at St Helena can found here on https://whatthesaintsdidnext.com/about/blog/

Saints and travellers who have the desire to visit St Helena has voice their opinion on the urgent need for a European hub to fly to St Helena, Could Titan be the next air service operator who could deliver this service from Europe?

Photo credit to Laurent_Errera.

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St Helena football team

Team effort to get a St Helena Football team to 2021 Inter-Island Games

Its less than a year away and the St Helena Football Association is planning to enter a St Helena football team into the NatWest International Island Games which are scheduled held in Guernsey next July (2021). To facilitate getting a team to the games, the Association needs to raise sufficient funding to enable the team to participate.

Last year the Association successfully raised £70,000 for the St Helena International Football Team to attend the Inter-Island Games Tournament in Ynys Mon, Wales. Despite the results not going in favor of the team, it was a great leap forward for the development of football on St Helena and also provided the incentive for youngsters on St Helena as more junior age children are now expressing an interest in junior football.

When asked what was the biggest challenge to get the team to games Nick Stevens from the St Helena Association said “it was the cost of flights to and from the Island as well as the accommodation cost remembering that the team needs to depart a week prior to the games and also they have to travel back a week after the event to meet the weekly flight schedules but also factoring in any delays in the process”.

St Helena football team
St Helena’s football team departing for the Inter Island games in North Wales

Planning is in progress to raise funds with several events scheduled on Island over the coming months. A Port to Port event is planned for the 31 August which is a sponsored walk from the St Helena Airport to Rupert’s Bay. This is a 14 km walk that is open to everyone. A 12-hour musical Extravaganza is also planned for the Friday 28th August at the Seafront in Jamestown.    There is also a raffle coming soon with the first prize been a brand new Sym Scooter.

The St Helena Association is keen to hear from anyone that has any great ideas to share that will help raise funds to help to get the team to the games again next year which not only contributes and improves Island football as a sport on the island but also exposes the visibility of St Helena as an Island on a stage that captures many football fans imagination and in the global media.

You might ask how can I help towards getting the St Helena team to the games?  You can donate here at the St Helena Football Association Go Fund Me page or at the very least please share this post with others via your social media platforms, so together we can help the organizers and St Helena achieve another goal in these testing times.

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