St Helena : St Helena Report on Home and International Committee
Submitted by Saint Helena Herald (Juanita Brock) 21.05.2010 (Article Archived on 04.06.2010)
Since the new Legislative Council was formed with the new portfolios and committee structures, the Home & International Committee’s scheduled meetings are held each 2nd Wednesday of the month and regular meetings have been held since January 2010.
PROGRESS REPORT FROM THE HOME & INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE
Since the new Legislative Council was formed with the new portfolios and committee structures, the Home & International Committee’s scheduled meetings are held each 2nd Wednesday of the month and regular meetings have been held since January 2010. On occasions there has been the need to hold extra emergency meetings.
The committee consists of myself as Chairman, Councillor Tara Thomas as Deputy Chairperson and Councillors Mervyn Yon and John Cranfield as members. During the recent absence of Councillors Tara Thomas and Mervyn Yon, who attended overseas conferences, Councillor Stedson Francis and the Chief of Police, Mr Peter Coll stood on the committee as acting members. To date the committee has made progress in the following areas:
• Provide recommendations to the Attorney Generals Chambers on legislation requirements both for St Helena and Ascension
• Liaising with fellow Councillors in other Overseas Territories, with a view of forming a policy in working together, in sharing knowledge and experience in the establishment of a South Atlantic Islands Group
• Reviewing Immigration policies and procedures, which has resulted in a working group being established in order to make recommendations on the possible changes to the Immigration Rules and Procedures and Inward Investment Policy, with a view of strengthening the Immigration laws and making it more easier and customer friendly for people who wish to visit and do business in St Helena
• Enquires are being carried out for the appointment of a representative for Ascension Island to represent the Diaspora
• Following a request from the Citizenship Commission, in consultation with the SHG representative in the UK, Mrs Kedall Worboys, an information pack concerning essential details for Saints, who enter the UK for the first time is being put together and once completed this information will be made available to Saints by Solomon’s Shipping Agents
• A joint public meeting is planned for June 2010 with the Civil Society, Tourism and Leisure Committee, for Non Government Organisations and Civil Societies, in order to explain the role and support to these organisations by both committees
• In respect of the Jamestown Rockfall Protection Project, the closing date for tenders is 21 May 2010, where an evaluation of the tenders will be completed by Fairhurst and a preferred contractor selected. We are expecting the contractor to be mobilised by August 2010, but if they miss this date then unfortunately mobilisation will not take place until after the dry docking of the RMS in October 2010
• The committee will soon be engaged in a public consultation exercise on the new Media Standards Ordinance
• Now that Councillors Tara Thomas and MervynYon have returned from their overseas conferences. They have held meetings with the SHG overseas representatives to discuss the role and responsibilities of the Home and International Committee. A policy will now be established in the support of the island and the Diaspora.
For the information of the public, I provide an update on the actions I had to undertake resulting from the Legislative Council meeting from 19th to 23rd March 2010:
• Motion which was supported by Legislative Council (That this Council believes that the legislation controlling dogs should be strengthened in the support of proper control of dogs and the owners or persons having charge of such dogs are required by law to clean up the mess).
Progress to date (The Home and International Committee has made recommendations to the Attorney Generals Chambers; draft legislation is being undertaken by the legal draughtsperson Christell Broderick in the UK. Once completed, the committee will undertake a public consultation process.
• Motion which again was supported by Legislative Council (This Council resolves that St Helena Government should liaise with DFID to look into the possibility of introducing policies and incentives to assist St Helenian families of working age, living abroad, to relocate to St Helena.
Progress to date ( The Social Development Planner, Ann Muir is working on a Retention and Attraction Strategy, which is intended to take a proactive approach and will examine what incentives could be introduced
Questions relating to my portfolio, resulting from the public meeting held 14th April 2010:
• Why do we need riot gear – is this an unnecessary expense? Answer: the existing equipment has not been replaced since 1987 and is no longer serviceable. SHG has a duty of care in providing the necessary Personal Protective Equipment, for Officers when called upon to deal with incidents where weapons or large individuals are involved. This one-off procurement will equip the Police service for many years to come.
• Why can’t Saint Investors living in St Helena be treated the same as Inward Investors when it comes to tax and other incentives?
Answer: A working group has been established with a view of making recommendations to strength and improve the Inward Investors Policy
Home and International Committee