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 […]

Transparency at The Castle becomes a human rights issue

The battle against secrecy within St Helena Government has been taken up by the island’s human rights co-ordinator. And emails have been sent to all of the island’s councillors asking whether they support transparency in the way they carry out their duties on behalf of the public.    The St Helena Freedom of Information Campaign has cast […]

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 […]

£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 […]

‘Transparency and scrutiny lead to public trust’ – White Paper

Proper scrutiny is vital to good government, says the UK’s 2012 White Paper on the country’s Overseas Territories. “This important work helps strengthen the people’s trust in government,” it says, “and encourages greater public participation in decision making.” It also sets out a list of seven principles of public life that are now followed in […]

Civil service versus the can-do culture: a governor’s view

In the third extract of an address to the Friends of St Helena, former governor Andrew Gurr reflects on the island’s emerging private sector, optimism and – just briefly – education. Read part one of his recollections here, and find part two here. On the private sector You have the private-versus-public tension, which is always […]

Facebook page calls for more open government

A campaign page calling for greater transparency from St Helena Government has been launched on Facebook by island commentator John Turner. It follows comments by the Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell, who said that he favoured transparency but would not impose it on governments in the overseas territories. He said it was […]