Governor and politicians top ‘not trusted’ list

Politicians have been named as the least trusted people on St Helena, along with journalists. But the governor has come second in a list of the most distrusted people on the island – and that fact was left out of a summary of the findings that was issued to media by the government. Governor Mark […]

Secrecy critics form new Executive Council

The five politicians who polled most votes in the 2013 St Helena general election have been named as the island’s new executive councillors. Each will chair one of the five main committees of the government. They are: Lawson Henry (Economic Development Committee), Christine Scipio o’Dean (Education), Cyril George (Environment and Natural Resources), Ian Rummery (Health […]

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’s top lawyer could help end St Helena secrecy

Britain’s Attorney General could be asked to help St Helena and other UK overseas territories draw up laws on freedom of information. Dr Peter Hayes, the diplomat in charge of overseas territories, raised the possibility during a committee hearing in Westminster. But he also referred to a set of rights, drawn up by the United […]

UK sends message on need for open government

The British government says it will be looking for transparency in the way St Helena spends millions of pounds it receives in aid funding. Its latest update on British overseas territories says: “More than ever, in the current financial climate, we have a duty to show that we are achieving value for money in everything we […]

Human rights group pushes transparency cause

A leaflet supporting the fight against secrecy in St Helena Government is being published by the island’s human rights body. It calls for a Freedom of Information (FoI) law to be introduced, just as the topic looks set to become an election issue. So far only two candidates have confirmed they will stand, but one […]

Secrecy leaves islands at risk of corruption, warns RSPB

A paragraph in this story has been toned down in response to a comment made privately to St Helena Online. The paragraph, about information being made available to legislative councillors, was capable of mis-interpretation.  Secretive decision-making by governments in St Helena and other British overseas territories leaves them vulnerable to corruption, MPs in London have […]

MP ‘shocked’ by tales of environmental failings

A Member of Parliament has reacted with dismay to allegations about the British government’s performance on protecting the environment of UK overseas territories. Caroline Lucas, the country’s only Green Party MP, said the government’s systems were “constitutionally not working.” She said: “The more I hear, the more shocking the situation seems to be.” She expressed […]

Psst… councillors debate transparency

Government transparency and accountability are understood to be on the agenda for a meeting of St Helena’s Legislative Council – the island’s parliament. The meeting – Monday 25 February 2013 – was not publicised in either of the island newspapers, and St Helena Government has issued no press release to say it would be happening. St Helena […]

Constitution flaw left leaders challenging themselves

A flaw in St Helena’s constitution means senior councillors can legally be responsible for challenging their own decisions. Last year, two “respected” executive councillors stepped down from the island’s public accounts committee, set up to monitor decision-making, when the flaw was highlighted. Now changes have been proposed to prevent executive council members from serving on the body. The ban is […]