Housing/Accommodation & Premises Policy for Businesses
Work on the above policies will be progressed during the proposed visit of FCO personnel in January 2007.
Discussion on the above will take place with the FCO and MOD during re-negotiation of the Joint Policy Statement
Review of Two Boats School Education Policy
A paper on the above will be ready for presentation to Council by December 2006.
Review of Medical & Health Services
Dr Mike Owen undertook the above review on island and his report is expected at the end of December 2006.
Draft Island Government Ordinance
A response on issues relating to section 10, raised by Council at the previous meeting, is awaited from FCO.
Report on the Convention on the Rights of the Child
The Governor confirmed that the draft report was forwarded to the FCO for necessary action.
Construction of Slipway at Pierhead
The Director of Financial Services advised that the above will be picked up in the Budget Process for 2007/2008.
The Attorney General confirmed that the Port Security (Ascension) Ordinance 2006 has been enacted.
Magistrates’ Court: Criminal Jurisdiction
The Attorney General confirmed that this Ordinance on which Council advised at its previous meeting had also been enacted.
Work to upgrade the playgrounds in both Georgetown and Two Boats is being progressed, including a covered area for the latter. Consideration is also being given to constructing a skateboard park in China Town.
Houses at Links West Estate
Discussions on the above would continue in an informal meeting between the Administrator and Council.
Substantive Agenda Items
Overseas Territories Consultative Council (OTCC) – 21-22 November 2006
Lord Triesman, Overseas Territories Minister, hosted the 8th meeting of the OTCC on 21/22 November 2006. Councillor Mrs Caroline Yon, JP represented Ascension at the OTCC and gave a verbal feedback on the meetings she had attended with Lord Triesman and other Chief Delegates. Councillor Yon had come away with a general feeling that the FCO wanted Ascension to move forward and felt very hopeful. Councillor Yon indicated that it had been a worthwhile visit and undertook to circulate a formal briefing note to her colleagues for information.
The Governor had also attended the OTCC and stressed the importance of OTs taking advantage of opportunities like these to talk to Ministers which had also included Baroness Scotland and the DFID Secretary of State, Hilary Benn. A copy of the agreed communiqué issued at the end of the OTCC and the agreed paper on good governance was shared with Council. The announcement about British Overseas Territories Students benefiting from the change to student fees in England had already been publicised.
Draft Ordinance to Regulate Entry to Ascension
This ordinance would make provision for regulating the entry of persons to Ascension. It re-states the previous law that no-one has the right to enter (or remain in) Ascension except with the permission of the Administrator, and makes provision for the appointment of immigration officers and for a system of entry permits and landing permits.
Council agreed the draft legislation should be given further consideration prior to undergoing a public consultation exercise.
Draft Ordinance dealing with Lay Advocates and Legal Assistance Fund for Ascension
For several years, whilst Lay Advocates have operated on Ascension under the relevant St. Helena law; the law has not been expressly extended to Ascension. However, the financial provisions in the St. Helena Ordinance cannot be applied to Ascension because the funds employed are derived from the St. Helena Consolidated Fund.
This Ordinance expressly applies the part of the St. Helena Ordinance which regulates the appointment and duties of Lay Advocates (thus removing any doubt or uncertainty) and establishes a Legal Assistance Fund for Ascension. A sum of money has already been appropriated, in this year’s Ascension Island Budget, to establish the Fund.
Council agreed that further consultation should be undertaken with the Lay Advocates and the Public Solicitor before the Legislation is considered further.
Governor’s Decisions Following Advice on the Police Adviser’s recommendations as they affect Ascension Island Police detachment
Council was made aware of the Governor’s decisions on the Recommendations from the Police Adviser’s Report.
The two main areas of concern noted were:
Posting of Experienced Officers to Ascension – A vacancy currently exists within the Police Force and there is no 24hr patrol in place. AIG could explore the option of recruiting off-shore i.e. UK or Falkland Islands if it were established that there were out of hours issues.
Review of Liquor Licencing – The issues needed to be looked at further in terms of the different options which might deliver desired outcomes.
WC’s At English Bay
Council considered the options put forward for building a WC at English Bay and agreed the facility should be block built. Designs to include a changing room will be circulated to Council for information in due course.
The following was noted under Any Other Business:
Ø Discussion on Links West Estate will take place during the forthcoming week.
Ø Request put forward for road repairs to be given some priority. Consideration will be given to the case for purchasing an asphalt plant.
Ø Can more be done to increase the availability of fresh fruit and vegetables to the Island? Dr Mike Owen had also highlighted this concern and the financial aspect will be followed up upon receipt of his report. The increase of freight allocation will be followed up with the MOD. Board level issues with Solomon’s may be passed on to the Government Director on St Helena.
Ø Reduced price cruises between Ascension and St Helena will continue to be looked at.
Clerk of Council