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St Helena : Air Access: Update on Progress
Submitted by Saint Helena Herald (Juanita Brock) 18.07.2003 (Article Archived on 01.08.2003)

We read about the progress the initiative launched on 07 April this year has made thus far.




1. On 7 April, during a visit to the UK by HE Governor Hollamby, the St Helena Government (SHG) launched an International Invitation for private sector participation in the possible development of air access for St Helena.  This was arranged on SHG’s behalf by London–based consultants GIC Limited. It incorporated an offer by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) of up to £26.3 million towards the cost of any proposal which may prove acceptable.  The deadline for receipt of outline proposals is 25 July.

2. The Invitation reflects the outcome of last year`s public referendum on future access arrangements. It was designed to help achieve for St Helena a permanent and self-financing improvement in future access for the island, supporting productive economic development to the benefit of its people. This is consistent with shared SHG and DFID objectives of promoting sustainable economic growth in St Helena and improved quality of life for all on the island.  

3.  At this stage, SHG and DFID are pleased to report that it has been encouraged by the quality and extent of international interest in the Invitation.  GIC have advised that three sets of proposals are definitely anticipated  –  and there may be more.  When all proposals are received, SHG and DFID (with specialist help) will begin a process of comparative evaluation – leading eventually, it is expected, to a select list of one or more bidders being invited to develop their proposal in more detail. This will then lead to a selected bidder being chosen to enter into formal negotiations with SHG and DFID.

4.   Meanwhile, for the public record, SHG and DFID wish to re-affirm and clarify their approach to the management of the Invitation process and to the evaluation of outline proposals which is expected to begin later this month.  This clarification may be helpful, at least in part, to dispel any uncertainties which may have arisen from certain views or comments that have been expressed recently in the Island media.  The position is set out below.

5.  SHG and DFID have worked throughout to create and maintain a ‘level playing field’ for all parties interested in responding to the Invitation.  For example, during the familiarisation visit last month by representatives of SHELCO and Bouygues/Basil Read (two of the potential respondents), SHG staff welcomed and offered equal cooperation to both parties.  All requests for assistance were met to the best of SHG’s ability.  Both since have reported complete satisfaction with the support and cooperation that they received.

6. To help achieve maximum transparency on the part of the interested parties, as well as on the part of SHG and DFID, the Invitation process requires all respondents to make full disclosure of their financial standing and that of any companies associated with their outline proposals.  It also asks them to reveal any interests, including financial and/or shareholdings, that they may have in St Helena Government and non-government entities.  All potential respondents have been advised of, and accept, the need for such disclosures to be made.

7. Contrary to any impressions that may have been created from a recent contribution to the Herald, no judgements have yet been made by either SHG or DFID about the individual financial or other status of any of the potential respondents. The Invitation requires respondents, in addition to declarations described above, to provide financial plans for their outline proposals and to identify their prospective sources of finance and revenue.  It will be only at the stage of having received and assessed this information that SHG and DFID can expect to be in a position to assess the financial standing of respondents.

8.   SHG remains committed to maintaining the maximum possible flow of information to Saints everywhere, and to other interested parties, about the progress of this important initiative for the future of the island and its community.  By necessity, however, release of information will be constrained by the commercial confidentiality of the outline proposals and process ahead. 

9.  SHG will issue further update reports as and when there is more news.  .



16 July 2003


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