S.Atlantic : New Elections for Ascension Council
Submitted by SARTMA.com (Juanita Brock) 29.03.2007 (Article Archived on 12.04.2007)
The Acting Governor has dissolved Ascension Island Council and called for an election on 01 May 2007,
To the electorate on Ascension
In my capacity as Acting Governor, I have decided to dissolve the Ascension Island Council with effect from 2nd April 2007. I will therefore shortly be issuing an official Declaration announcing that a general election will be held on 1st May 2007.
The substantive Governor and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office share my wish to see all seats filled in order to run the affairs of the Ascension Island Government for the next term of three years. Councillors normally meet at least on a monthly basis in formal meetings and sometimes these can be supplemented by informal meetings.
So, what does the Council do? The Council advises the Governor either directly or through his representative, the Administrator, on the formulation of policy and matters relating to legislation from the inception to enactment.
There is interesting and responsible work to be carried out over the next three years. For example, the Council will need to consider reports on taxation, fishing, medical and health services, and draft policies on education and child protection. There are important pieces of legislation presently being prepared including e.g. Harbours Regulations.
The Council will need to consider a new strategic plan for the future direction of Ascension Island. They will also be required to advise the Governor on the priorities in the annual budget. Much of the work is carried out in formal Council meetings. Some of the members will also be invited to serve on the Finance Committee or the Technical Services Committee. Ascension Island Government will be required to operate within the parameters set by Lord Triesman. In practice, this means working on the basis that there will be no right of abode and there will be no further development of property rights. ,
Within this framework, there is a lot of important work to do. You will see that the forthcoming policies, strategy and legislative work that has to be addressed, provide great scope for the Council to consider ways of improving the quality of life for those working and living on Ascension. I have no doubt that there will be a lot more for the new Council to get their teeth into in the future.
I have decided (in accordance with section 5(c) of the Island Council Ordinance) to discontinue the practice on Ascension whereby Heads of Department in the Public Service can stand for election. This is to avoid conflicts of interest between political and management responsibilities.
The residents of Ascension Island voted overwhelmingly in August 2002 to establish an Island Council. Another general election was held in 2005. I hope that there will be a good turn out of candidates for the general election on 1st May 2007. The substantive Governor and I also hope that the new Council will work closely with the Administrator and the Governor for the long term benefit of Ascension Island.
29 March 2007