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Falklands : St Helena EXCO REPORT 31 – 26th May 2009
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 07.06.2009 (Article Archived on 21.06.2009)

This was another fairly short agenda. Our first item was presented by the Chairman of the Education Committee, Councillor Benjamin. The issue before us was a bit unusual in that it is one of those decisions that is made under the Education Ordinance and is made through regulation by the Governor in Council.

EXCO REPORT 31 – 26th May 2009


This was another fairly short agenda. Our first item was presented by the Chairman of the Education Committee, Councillor Benjamin. The issue before us was a bit unusual in that it is one of those decisions that is made under the Education Ordinance and is made through regulation by the Governor in Council.


At present there are 202 teaching days in the school year which includes public holidays that fall within term time. In addition teachers work 6 more as staff development days. The recommendation was to reduce the teaching days by 5 in order to provide a week of additional holiday for teachers and pupils. This would mean a three week holiday at the end of the school year rather that a two week one.


The rationale for this is that we are having considerable difficulty in finding and employing teaching staff. At present we are short of seven. It was believed that by bringing the holiday entitlement more in to line with the UK, (we will still be 2 ahead of England and Wales), it will ease the recruitment problem.


The issue has no significant financial implications and due notice will of course be given to all parents. There will also be a consultation with parents in order to clarify any points that may require consideration.


Our second paper was one that was referred back from the last EXCO when the inevitable rise in fuel prices was delayed for reconsideration of how it should be applied. The Acting Financial Secretary recommended a rise that would mean 1p extra on diesel and 2p on petrol at the pumps. As I indicated two weeks’ ago, fishermen will not have to pay any increase. The rise will take effect from tomorrow morning.


Several issues were raised under Any Other Business. Councillors received an assurance that the rockfall protection programme is on track, and officers agreed to clarify the position with regard to who is responsible for the wharf and when.


We also discussed the public consultation process regarding the Constitution. Councillors were concerned that the public had not turned up at all to last evening’s meeting as they felt that there is a sense in which the approval of the draft should come from the public in general. However it was also pointed out that politicians are elected to make decisions on behalf of the public and that people must have the freedom to attend or not, as they wish. We confirmed that it is our job to make sure that the issues are available for the public to discuss if they want to, and that they have the opportunity to do so.


As Governor I am concerned that some folk feel that this change is somehow being imposed by London. Of course London has a timetable for getting it done, but that is only if it is agreed here. In any case, virtually all of the changes from the existing old fashioned Constitution, have been recommended by Councillors here. As a package it has been discussed for years and this recommended draft improves all our rights and freedoms. If you feel that is not the case, I urge you to make your thoughts known during the consultation process.


The meeting finished at 12.30 pm


Andrew Gurr


Governor


26th May 2009


 

 

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