St Helena : St Helena: Independent Owners Respond To Newspaper Closure
Submitted by Saint Helena Herald (Juanita Brock) 07.04.2012 (Article Archived on 19.05.2012)
Here is the Truth and not parts of it
Here is the Truth and not parts of it
Saint FM/St Helena Independent would like to respond to selected ‘truth’ presented to the public by St Helena Government earlier today.
The fact of the matter is that St Helena Government has taken unprecedented steps, contrary to good governance in their attempts to justify an unjust cause.
It has to be realised that for a government to openly publish financial detail about an agreement between a private corporation and government further jeopardise the Island’s private sector and potential inward investment. The steps taken shows how vulnerable we all are. What would normally be classified as ‘commercial-in-confidence’ has been dragged out in the public domain just because St Helena Government do not like the owner of the corporation.
This is obviously done in desperation but will have serious consequences for the Island and its future.
Saint FM has decided to release the full service level agreement with St Helena Government, which is a normal trade agreement and has nothing to do with financial support or subsidy and nothing to do with St Helena Independent.
Saint FM is the most popular radio station on the Island only radio station who can supply the service required.
THIS AGREEMENT is made on 3rd day of February 2011, BETWEEN:
(1) The Chief Secretary of Saint Helena, acting on behalf of Her Majesty in right of Her Government of Saint Helena (hereinafter called “the Government”) and
(2) Saint Helena Media Productions Ltd (hereinafter called “Saint FM”)
(together hereinafter referred to as “The Parties”)
WHEREBY IT IS AGREED AS FOLLOWS:
1. Saint FM will provide a platform for the following programmes through the medium of the broadcasting station known as “Saint FM”.
a) Standby Services - From time to time the St Helena emergency services require the transmission of urgent information and public safety information to the public. Saint FM guarantees to provide a ‘24/7’ service (that is, a service which will be available for the whole of every day) with a maximum time of mobilisation of 5 minutes in case any emergency on the Island. No additional charge will be applicable when the service is utilised.
b) Public Information Purposes – Saint FM will be available to government departments & Councillors for public information purposes and promotional campaigns (eg health issues, Public Meetings, and crime prevention ) of non-commercial nature for up to a total of five hours (in addition to time provided under paragraph (a) in any period of seven consecutive days.
c) Contact with Diaspora – It is agreed that Saint FM output will be accessible to the Diaspora as at present.
2. In consideration of the provision of the services specified in 1 above, the Government will pay to Saint FM the sum of £1,500 (One thousand and five hundred pounds) per month for the period of this agreement, PROVIDED THAT The Government reserves the right to withhold payment for the whole or any part of the monthly amount in the event that any of the services are not readily available or provided.
3. Saint FM acknowledges the statutory right of the Government, under section 43 of the Financial management Ordinance, to set off any money owed by Saint FM to the Government against sums payable to Saint FM by the Government, whether under this agreement or otherwise.
4. Saint FM shall deliver invoices to the Office of the Chief Secretary by the 7th day of each month for services rendered during the previous month. Payment to Saint FM shall, subject to clauses 2 and 3, be arranged as soon as practicable and in any event not more than ten days after receipt of the invoice.
5. This agreement may be terminated at any time by either party giving one month’s notice in writing to the other: but in the event of such termination any service provided prior to the termination will be paid for pro rota.
6. This agreement be deemed to have come into effect on 1 January 2011, and (subject to clause 5) will continue until 31 March 2011, conditional on Saint FM holding a valid broadcasting license throughout this period.
Signed on behalf of St Helena Government
By Gillian Francis and Mike Olsson
This agreement was subsequently extended until 31st March 2012.
Saint FM has nothing to hide on this matter. Saint FM has provided a service nobody else can provide and been paid a modest amount for the provision.
The St Helena Government press release this morning stated that “When SHG proposed setting up a new, community-owned media service, this was approved by the Elected Representatives of the people of St Helena, in both Legislative and Executive Councils. Councillors fully endorsed SHG’s intention to set up a sustainable and modern community-owned service, run by talented Saints, to engage all audiences, including the younger sector, at a time of change and challenges.”
The statement contradicts the St Helena Constitution in that it states ‘SHG proposed and Councillors approved’. As far as we are aware – the Council IS St Helena Government and talented Saints were working in media before the new government media.
It should also be recognised that the Attorney General registered the new corporation with registered office in the Attorney General’s Office.
Notwithstanding anything else, nothing changes the fact that the taxpayer is paying heavily to compete with the private sector.