Amidst clear skies, with the RMS St Helena in the harbour and the steady hum of people gathering to watch the Inauguration Ceremony in Jamestown, Mark Capes was sworn in as the Governor of St Helena on Saturday 29th October 2011.
Mark Capes sworn in as Governor of St Helena
Amidst clear skies, with the RMS St Helena in the harbour and the steady hum of people gathering to watch the Inauguration Ceremony in Jamestown, MarkCapes was sworn in as the Governor of St Helena on Saturday 29th October 2011.
With the familiar sounds of the Scouts’ band, the Inauguration Ceremony opened with the traditional parade of the St Helena Police Force, Guides, Brownies and Rainbows, Scouts and Cubs. The Salvation Army, Get-togethers Orchestra and a representation of school children were also present.
At the Governor Designate and Mrs Capes arrived at the Grand Parade accompanied by the Aide de Camp, Debbie Stroud, who escorted them to the steps of the Supreme Court Terrace where they were received by the Chief Secretary.
The Chief Secretary then read the Royal Commission appointing MarkCapes to be Governor of St Helena; this was followed by the Administering of Oaths by the Sheriff, Pat Musk MBE JP who then read the Address of Welcome.
In response, the new Governor commented on how ‘thrilled’ both he and his wife were to be on the Island. He also thanked everyone for the warm welcome and offered thanks to those who had organised and participated in the ceremony.
His Excellency went on to say that it is a ‘great honour to be appointed to serve as Governor of St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha’. Noting that the role of Governor carries a ‘weighty responsibility’, Governor Capes looks forward to ‘drawing upon all the skills gained over many years as a member of Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service’.
He assured the people of St Helena that in carrying out his duties as Governor he would ‘seek to be accessible and as transparent and open as possible about government policies and decisions, while fully embracing a spirit of partnership and cooperation with your elected representatives and of course with you, the good people of St Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha.’
Speaking about his meetings in London, prior to his arrival at St Helena, Governor Capes remarked that he left feeling ‘greatly encouraged, confident in the knowledge that Ministers in London are fully engaged and keenly interested to ensure that the islands for which I now have responsibility as Governor should have the opportunity to enjoy a secure and prosperous future’.
As St Helena awaited the final decision on the airport Governor Capes said:
“...We stand on the threshold of writing an exciting new chapter in St Helena’s rich and colourful history. Construction of an airport would mean grappling with many new challenges and it is clear that one of my principal concerns would be to see that change related to the introduction of air access is managed sensitively. In that regard, and being acutely aware of the great love and affection that Saints have for St Helena, it is vital that in providing air access we should create the opportunities to attract Saints now working overseas to return home to contribute to the development of their Island, to shape it in a way that preserves its distinctive charm and character.”
His Excellency went on to say:
‘With air access tourism could transform St Helena from an island in decline into a prosperous, thriving community. It could become the lifeblood of this economy, providing the revenue we need for improved healthcare, schools, roads and other essential services.’
On this note His Excellency ended his speech by hoping for a green light on air access to be given soon. He then encouraged everyone to ‘gripthe opportunity firmly, roll up our sleeves and prepare...together…to write the next exciting chapter in St Helena’s history in a way that serves the best interests of you, the great people of St Helena.’
Following Governor Capes’ speech Mrs Capes was presented with a floral bouquet from Little Miss May Queen, Danni-Marie Thomas.
The Right Reverend, the Lord Bishop then gave a prayer and blessing and the Ceremony ended with a March Past.
Since being sworn in the Governor has spent his first few days in many meetings and also chaired his first Executive Council Meeting on 2nd November.