Trick or treat? Ascension gets a Hallowe’en election

When folk speak of The Count come Hallowe’en night on Ascension, it may not be Count Dracula they have in mind. An election for a new island council is to take place on the spookiest date in the calendar. The decision has been announced by the aptly-named Governor Capes (no jokes about The Dark Mark, […]

Anti-secrecy law ‘only months away’, predicts John

Work has begun in earnest on ending the entrenched culture of secrecy within St Helena Government – but one councillor has questioned whether it should be a priority. Open government became a key issue in the island’s July 2013 general election, a year after the launch of a campaign on St Helena Online and the […]

Girls at risk as Ascension declines, says Guardian writer

Long-held resentments over treatment of Saints on Ascension have been aired in a lengthy article on the UK’s Guardian website. It accuses the UK of depopulating the island – with teenagers facing sexual pressures as a result. Writer Fred Pearce says people who have lived on the island all their lives are being forced out […]

New leaders vow to end ’embarrassment’ of secrecy

St Helena’s new political leaders have called for an early end to the “embarrassment” of excessive secrecy within the island’s government. They also voiced strong objections to having to sign an oath of confidentiality, blocking them from sharing any information with the public without the governor’s consent. The acting chief secretary, Gillian Francis, acknowledged calls […]

Governor urges new councillors to show leadership

Governor Mark Capes has called on St Helena’s new councillors to provide strong leadership and break down past distrust of the island’s government. In what could be seen as a criticism of former councillors, he told the island’s new leaders they must take responsibility in public for the decisions they made. The speech hinted at […]

Fight looms over secrecy oath that blocks human right (updated)

Update: Councillors have all now sworn the oath of confidentiality that prevents them revealing any information about St Helena Government. A new story will be published later today, following the inaugural session of the new legislative council. St Helena’s new councillors are being placed under pressure to swear a vow of secrecy that goes against […]

Open government is not islands’ top priority, says minister

Freedom of information is not a top priority for overstretched governments in the British overseas territories, MPs in London have been told. Foreign Minister Mark Simmonds also admitted that no territories had been given UK support to end the kind of secretive practices seen on St Helena.  That could change if new councillors act on a […]

UK politicians revive St Helena group on eve of polls

The all-party Parliamentary group for St Helena has been revived in London, close to what could be the most important general election in the island’s history. It comes after Vince Thompson of the St Helena Independent talked with Lord Jones of Cheltenham and Sir Bob Russell at separate meetings in Westminster. The group had not […]

London dismisses election protest against Governor Capes

A formal protest has been sent to Foreign Secretary William Hague over the “unpleasant” way that Governor Mark Capes dismissed elected councillors without warning. But a response from overseas territories chief Peter Hayes has claimed that Mr Capes gave “justified reasons” for removing councillors from office. In fact, those reasons only explained the decision to […]