Dear Councillor: do you want open government on St Helena?

The people elected to serve the people of St Helena have been asked to say whether they want to bring democracy on the island out into the open.  Governor Mark Capes has reported that councillors want to see more government information made public. But so far, that has not brought about the kind of transparency […]

Chokers in chokey: prisoners get right to smoke inside (comment added)

Inmates of Jamestown prison have been exempted from St Helena’s new ban on smoking in public buildings, which came into force on 1 September 2012. Under the law, anyone caught smoking in a public building is liable to a fine of £300 – which prisoners would struggle to pay. The prison service would also have […]

Experts help to balance benefits and minimum wage

Advice on setting new benefit levels on St Helena has been sought from a UK university. Executive councillors have been told that the new figure has to be linked to establishment of a new minimum wage, tax reforms and utility prices. Governor Mark Capes said: “Expert advice was being sourced from overseas, including from the […]

Last meeting for ‘outstanding’ Tara

Tara Thomas has attended her last executive council meeting in Jamestown. She steps down formally on 31 August in order to prepare for her studies for a MBA degree in London next year. She has won a Chevening scholarship, awarded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to students with potential as future leaders. Governor Mark […]

Tara stands down from council to study in UK

Tara at a function in Whitehall, London, in 2010

Tara Thomas is to resign as a councillor on St Helena in order to study for a masters degree in London. She has been awarded a Chevening Scholarship – usually given to “students with demonstrable potential to become future leaders.” Tara, who was still in her early 20s when she became a councillor, is chair […]

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 […]

Jobs for island contractors after years of under-spending

Island businesses are being asked to help with a backlog of “challenging” work to improve infrastructure on St Helena – such as roads and buildings. It follows a rebuke in early 2012 by aid advisers over delays in spending several million pounds that was meant to be used for vital work. Executive councillors have accepted […]

Minimum wage moves to start ‘without delay’

A law to introduce a minimum wage on St Helena is to be brought into force as soon as possible. Protection against being unfairly sacked is also set to be brought in under the 2010 Employment Rights Ordinance. It comes less than a month after the man in charge of economic development said wages on […]

Small shipment blamed for diesel price rise – but tax has gone up too

A ten per cent rise in the price of a litre of diesel is partly due to prices overseas, according to Governor Mark Capes. But more than half the 12 pence increase reflects a rise in customs duty. In his report of the latest Executive Council meeting, Mr Capes says: “The increase was due in part […]

Land deal drawn up for luxury hotel

Plans for a luxury hotel on St Helena have moved a step forward, with developer Shelco about to be given permission to buy land for the project. A draft agreement has been approved by executive councillors, to be signed by Governor Mark Capes. The special consent is needed because a new law allowing non-islanders to […]