St Helena : St Helena: EXCO Report: 16 April 2013
Submitted by Saint Helena Herald (Public Relations Information Office) 20.04.2013 (Article Archived on 18.05.2013)
Today we began our meeting with discussion of a paper presented by the Attorney General, which sought approval for the number of Council Committees to be reduced from eight to five and for work to be taken forward to produce detailed proposals on how the Committees should be structured
report: 16 April 2013
Today we began our meeting with
discussion of a paper presented by the Attorney General, which sought approval for
the number of Council Committees to be reduced from eight to five and for work
to be taken forward to produce detailed proposals on how the Committees should
be structured. The Attorney General noted that recent consultation about
possible revisions to the Constitution foundered upon the issue of whether
there should be a Chief Councillor.
However, during that exercise it seemed
clear that a broad consensus existed within Council, and amongst the public,
for a reduction in the number of Committees. To adjust the number of Committees
does not require an amendment to the Constitution and it would be open to
Councillors to choose to restore the link between Committee Chairmanship and
Councillors approved the proposed
return to five Council Committees and undertook to address the detail of the structure
with a view to a further paper coming to EXCO with recommendations for the Committee
structure. The issue will first be further discussed by all 12 Councillors at
an informal meeting of LEGCO on Friday.
The Solicitor General joined EXCO
to present the next paper which concerned the introduction of a Minimum Wage on
St Helena. The Solicitor General had been more closely involved over some months
with the development of the Minimum Wage policy. Council was asked to approve
the Minimum Wage rates as recommended by the Employment Rights Committee and
that the rates, if approved, should become effective from 1 June 2013. Council
approved the minimum wage rates and confirmed that they should be introduced
from 1 June 2013. Council welcomed the establishment of minimum wage rates and
the expected positive social impact to be gained from protecting the interests
of the lowest paid.
Moving on to the next paper, this
concerned the annual increase in the freight tariffs and passenger fares on the
RMS St Helena; and the first stage of phasing out transhipment subsidies for
freight. The paper was presented by Councillor Derek Thomas, Deputy Chairman of
the Access and Transport Committee. Council approved the routine 4% annual increase
in RMS fares and freight to take effect from 1 July 2013, which was in keeping
with the RMS 2013/14 business plan.
In respect of the reduction in the
transhipment freight subsidy this applies only to cargo shipped from the UK. It
was agreed in the DAPM process, that the subsidy should be reduced in stages
over three years from 2013/14 so that it is removed completely by the time the
airport opens in 2016. Council noted that given the time over which this change
is being introduced there should be no appreciable impact on the economy. The reduction
in subsidy will take effect from 1 June with (depending on the type of cargo)
the following increase in cost per 20 ft container: 60 to 100 pounds in the first
year; and 200 pounds per year in the following two years.
A paper presented by the Attorney
General on a licence issue related to Connect Saint Helena Ltd was deferred to the
next sitting of Council to allow more time for review of the details.
The final matter for discussion
today was a letter from a member of the public to Governor in Council seeking
relief from customs duties. Council instructed that the letter should be dealt
with by the Collector of Customs in accordance with current regulations.
Before our meeting closed at
12.30, I told Councillors that I would visit the UK shortly on business to
attend the annual FCO Leadership Conference and also a Governors’ Conference. I
would follow that with some leave in Europe, returning to St Helena in early
Thank you as always for listening
and so, from Jamestown, a very good afternoon to you all.