Ascension : Meeting of the Ascension Island Council, 21 January 2013
Submitted by The Islander (Ascension Island Government) 31.01.2013 (Article Archived on 14.02.2013)
The Ascension Island Council met on 21 January in the Court House. The Governor, HE Mark Capes, presided by telephone from St Helena.
ASCENSION ISLAND GOVERNMENT
OFFICE OF THE ADMINISTRATOR
Meeting of the Ascension Island Council, 21 January 2013
The Ascension Island Council met on 21 January in the Court House. The Governor, HE Mark Capes, presided by telephone from St Helena. For practical reasons, I chair the meetings on the Governor’s behalf. Councillors Cathy Cranfield, Kitty George, Neil Lawrence, Toni Bendall and Cyril Leo attended. The Governor welcomed Councillor Leo to his first meeting since his re-election to the Council in November 2012.
The Island Council approved a policy on the Protection of Children on Ascension Island. A separate information notice will be issued giving more details. The Council’s policy addresses a wide range of related issues which, when combined, aims to reduce the scope for illegal sexual activity with minors to occur, and to better protect our children. At the same time, the Council approved a set of regulations giving the Island’s Safeguarding Children Board key roles and responsibilities, as well as a new member drawn from voluntary groups such as the scouts and guides. I shall be seeking nominations for that position shortly.
The Island Council also approved a policy towards a Marine Protection Ordinance designed to strengthen our protection of the Island’s marine biodiversity. It is proposed that the first to be controlled under this new ordinance will be the crayfish (spiny lobster), more particularly berried females (those carrying eggs). Legislation will now be worked up to give the policy legal effect.
[The Governor informed Council members that the UK Government has proposed to extend the United Kingdom Forces (Jurisdiction of Colonial Courts) Order 1965 to Ascension Island. This would allow the MOD Base Commander to deal with certain acts committed by serving personnel under the military legal system. Offences against non-serving personnel, or those falling outside of military law such as road traffic violations will continue to be dealt with under Ascension Law. Ascension was inadvertently omitted when the Order was drafted in 1965. It currently applies to other Overseas Territories]
· Councillors raised a number of constituent’s concerns. Councillor Leo asked that more be done to inform the public regularly on the roads project and for AIG to address the potholes on the English Bay road. I undertook to issue up dates. He also asked AIG to look into providing shaded areas at English Bay and the Two Boats Swimming Pool.
· In response to a point made that the last Council meeting by Councillor Bendall, and by Councillor Lawrence this time, on MOTs, I said the AIG’s Car Workshop was now well placed, along with non-AIG inspectors, to provide the service and that we would look to provide a secure location for cars that had failed its MOTs to be stored until the repairs had been conducted. There were no plans to stop ‘driveway MOTs’. Please note: MOTs can be conducted 3 months before then end of the one-year term, thus giving the drivers time to make the improvements before the previous certificates validity runs out. There is no need, with careful planning, to lose the right to use your car.
· Councillor George asked the Governor to see if St Helena Broadcasting Corporation could be relayed to Ascension. The Governor thought that might be possible. AIG will follow that up.
· Councillor Lawrence asked about rumours the BFBS service would cease. I said I had received reassurance from Wing Commander Mark Taylor that this was not the case.
The next meeting will be on 22 February and will deal with the Government’s 2013/14 budget.