Ascension : Island Council Meeting, 27 January 2012
Submitted by The Islander (Ascension Island Government) 02.02.2012 (Article Archived on 16.02.2012)
The Island Council met on 27 January in Georgetown and passed three pieces of legislation and discussed a number of current issues.
ASCENSION ISLAND GOVERNMENT
The Island Council met on 27 January in Georgetown and passed three pieces of legislation and discussed a number of current issues. The Governor, His Excellency Mark Capes, and the Attorney General, Ken Baddon, joined the meeting by telephone. Councillors Toni Bendall, Kitty George, Cathy Cranfield and Neil Lawrence attended. For both the Governor and myself this was our first Council meeting.
The Council passed three ordinances that will now go to the Governor for signature. Two were technical amendments to the Customs Ordinance deleting unnecessary penalty clauses. The third authorised an increase in postal charges by 15% from 1 April 2012. This may seem a big increase – and it is. But, it is the first increase in prices for 10 years and better reflects the modern cost of providing the service.
Council members also agreed a design for the Ascension Island Coat of Arms. The design emerged from a public consultation process in late 2010. The London-based College of Arms, which has responsibility for submitting proposals to HM The Queen, provided the design based on the priorities we identified. Once the Governor has approved the design, the College of Arms will submit it to Her Majesty with a proposal that the Island’s flag be a Blue Ensign with the Coat of Arms on the right-hand side.
The Council also proposed a plan of action for celebrating Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee this year. They approved a proposal from Rev Chris Brown that the Ascension Day Fair and the Jubilee be celebrated on the same day – 2 June. The public holiday for Ascension Day will continue to be Friday 18 May. Don’t forget there will be TWO public holidays to celebrate the Jubilee – 4 and 5 June. I will set out the Jubilee plans in next week’s Islander. The exact date of the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty’s accession is next week, 6 February.
The Council also discussed the 2012/13 budget and the management of sheep in Two Boats. On the budget, I informed Councillors that AIG would submit proposals to them in February. I also hoped legislation giving legal effect to the annual budget contributions from MOD, BBC, CSO and Cable and Wireless would be submitted to them shortly. With a new budget and process for major contributions in place, I hope financial stability will now become the norm on Ascension.
Finally, the Governor updated Councillors on the airport project in St Helena and on efforts by the FCO to correct a reduction in the number of seats on MOD flights assigned for selling to civilians by AIG. On the latter, the Governor reported that the FCO and MOD discussed the allocation of seats on 26 January. The MOD response had been positive. I am now working with the St Helena Government and the Ascension Island Travel Agency on a practical proposal to redress the earlier reductions.
I hope to call the next Island Council meeting around 22 February.
30 January 2012