On 26 September 2019 a general election of the Island Council was held. Following the vote five of the seven candidates were successfully elected as Councillors and were officially sworn in.
Island Council recommend designation of an MPA covering 100% of Ascension's waters
This morning HE Dr Philip Rushbrook, Governor of St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, arrived on island via the ATI operated USAF flight. This is the Governor’s first visit to Ascension since taking office on 11 May 2019.
The Governor has a full programme of events planned for his time on island meeting with the island Council, employing organisations, voluntary groups and residents.
To kick things off the Governor was given an AIG infrastructure tour.
This was to allow the Governor to view various branches within AIG to get a feel of the breadth of work undertaken by the Operation Department, as well as some of the specific projects currently underway on Ascension.
As well as a number of bilateral engagements he will be hosting a town hall meeting on Wednesday 10 July between 18:00 – 19:00 at the Saints Club. The Governor will address the meeting and then take questions from the floor, followed by a drinks reception. We encourage members of the public to attend the meeting as the Governor is very keen to hear the public’s views and to gain a better understanding of the issues currently being faced on island.
On Saturday 11 May 2019, Dr Philip Rushbrook arrived to take up his role as the Territory’s 69th Governor and the first to arrive by air.
Dr Rushbrook, accompanied by his wife, Mrs Rushbrook, was sworn in just after 4pm, on the Supreme Court Terrace in Jamestown. The Chief Secretary, Mrs Susan O’Bey, read the Royal Commission and the Sheriff of St Helena, Mrs Ethel Yon OBE, administered the Oaths of Office and gave the Address of Welcome.
The traditional ceremony included music from the Combined Brass Band and an inspection by His Excellency of delegations from the St Helena Police Force, schoolchildren, Customs Officers, Nurses, Scouts, Cubs and Beavers, Girl Guides, Brownies and Rainbows, Pathfinders, Religious Organisations and the Fire and Sea Rescue Services. The Rt. Revd. The Lord Bishop of St Helena, Dale Bowers MBE, gave a prayer and a blessing, followed by His Excellency receiving the salute.
In his Inauguration Address, His Excellency commented:
“I am deeply privileged and excited to become the Governor of St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha – three unique and precious British territories in the South Atlantic. It is an honour to serve Her Majesty and to serve you. St Helena is the new home for my wife, Janis, and I and we look forward to being active members of the community on this jewel of an island.”
Reflecting on his work preparing to take up the office of Governor, including meetings with Islanders, His Excellency acknowledged the “universal desire to see the territories develop socially and economically” and the Islanders’ “powerful sense of mission to build partnerships and improve the opportunities for their islands to become more prosperous and contented places in which to live and work”.
For St Helena, His Excellency endorsed the Economic Development Investment Programme funded by the UK and promised “achieving better connections to the outside world through wider air access and delivering the internet potential of a marine cable” would be matters receiving his constant attention; for Ascension Island to support “the runway work started and […] make this period of uncertainty as short as possible” and, for Tristan da Cunha to “protect its pristine status whilst maintaining its ability to diversify the economy and increase income from sustainable fishing”.
His Excellency then proceeded to The Castle where he was introduced to dignitaries and members of the public followed by light refreshments.
A new Council for Ascension Island has today been announced by Returning Officer Dean Hambleton-Ayling, following an Island-wide election on Thursday 1 September 2016.
The following candidates have been duly elected to serve as Members of the Ascension Island Council:
- Samantha Jean Arms-Lawrence, Georgetown
- Marie-Anne Mabel Dennis, Two Boats
- Jacqueline Rose Ellick, Georgetown
- Keturah Viola George, Georgetown
- Nicholas Ivan John, Georgetown
Read more about the election results here.
Today Governor Lisa Phillips congratulated those elected to serve on the Ascension Island Council and noted the encouraging 80% female representation.
Governor Lisa Phillips said:
“Congratulations to those of you who have been elected to serve as Councillors of Ascension Island. I wish you all the best in the important roles you must now carry out – especially as you are my ‘eyes and ears’ on Ascension. I look forward to working with you all.”
Ascension Island Administrator, Marc Holland, added:
“The Governor & I look forward to working with our new Island Council. They are the people’s representatives who do fantastic public service. We would like to get the whole community more involved in Council business.”
In total 121 people cast valid votes. This represents approximately 23% of those eligible to vote – compared with 35% in 2013.
The Ascension Island Council met for the first time today, Friday 2 September, at 1pm when members Keturah George, Marie-Anne Dennis, Jacqui Ellick and Samantha Arms-Lawrence took the Oaths of Office. Nicholas John will take the prescribed Oaths when he returns from overseas leave.
Newly elected Ascension Island Council (front row)
2 September 2016
Article by Nicola Dillon; Photos by Colin Duncan
After months of planning and preparation work, the Ascension Island Government was pleased to officially open the Children’s Park on Tuesday, 2 February.
Ginny Ferson, Deputy Governor of Bermuda and the UK Senior Officer responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Wass Inquiry Report recommendations, had the pleasure of cutting the ribbon and declaring the park officially open.
Beforehand the Administrator, Marc Holland, spoke a few words describing the background to the playground renovation, which was one of the projects which were fostered under the umbrella of the Bicentenary year celebrations. The project began as a £85K bid from the Development Fund in the last Appropriation Ordinance and was intended to upgrade the children’s playground to bring the facility up to required safety standards and to replace the old play equipment with new equipment.
At this stage the Administrator handed over to Councillor Nicholas John who became the Island Council champion for the park. Councillor John had been involved in the project from start to finish and he was instrumental in the design, project management and procurement of equipment for the playground.
Councillor John said that there had been great teamwork across AIG and the island generally in the project. The core project team was supported by various AIG teams as required. He said that it had been a privilege and an honour to work alongside the team on the project. The project had been approached with humour and good spirit as well as a serious amount of thought, hard graft and dedication. The end result was a playground that not only enticed and accommodated all ages of children and their parents, but kept within budget, was aesthetically pleasing and conformed to British Safety Standards.
Particular mention was made of team leader, Nicky Herne, who took ownership of the project and invested a huge amount of personal time and effort to ensure its success. Councillor John said that Nicky demonstrated once more his infallible attention to detail and desire for perfection and quality. The project, said Councillor John, depended on Nicky’s trade craft and managerial ability.
Councillor John gave thanks to the following:
- IDL, Southern Pole Services and Redhall Engineering who donated concreting materials
- Berard Dupres and Babcock for sponsoring a proportion of the water used by the water feature
- Steve Brown who was responsible for deploying the workforce in support of the project
- The AIG Fire department who washed the apparatus in readiness for the Christmas Eve celebrations
- Shalane Thomas who was responsible for the financial aspect of the project and kept the budget on track
- Nicky Benjamin and the excavation team for preparing the grounds. Special mention was made of Martin Henry and Kevin Wade for their support throughout the installation. Councillor John commented that nothing was too much trouble for them!
- Roy Francis and Raymond Andrews for construction work. Councillor John explained that there was a lot of work hidden underground which was crucial to the safety of the structures. He thanked Roy and Raymond for their hard work and commitment to deliver the project as soon as possible.
- Patrick (Toby) Brooks, Mario Williams and Nathan Thomas for the electrical installation
- Adrian Williams and Roy Thomas who carried out the plumbing works
- Darren Benjamin who was invaluable in assembling the apparatus and lending support for the construction work
- The following staff members were also part of the project team: Gareth Henry, Glen Lawrence, Steven O’Connor, Cormac Crowie and Gerald March
All are to be congratulated on their fine achievement!
Ascension Island’s newest member of the Ascension Island Council, Mrs Jacqui Ellick, was officially sworn in on Thursday, 15 January 2015.
Following a by-election on 18 November, Councillor Ellick was elected to Council by a majority of 69 votes to 49 votes.Councillor Ellick’s appointment brings the number of elected members to seven and fills the vacant seat left by Toni Bendall following her resignation on 31 July 2014.
Councillor Ellick is one of Ascension Island’s longest residents and is an active member of the Community. She is currently one of the island’s longest serving JPs and also serves as Chairman of the Islander newspaper.Councillor Ellick has been actively involved in Ascension Island’s Turtle programme over many years and this year is heading the Turtle Intern Programme in conjunction with the Conservation Office.
Ascension Island Government
15 January 2015
Formal meeting of the Ascension Island Council
Date: Monday, 30th September 2013
Venue: Court House
- Introductory Remarks
- Confirmation of Minutes:
(i) Ascension Island Council Meeting, 8 August 2013
- Matters Arising
(i) The Ascension Island Supplementary Appropriation Ordinance 2013(ii) Customs (Arriving and Departing Ships)(Amendment)(No 2) Regulations 2013
(iii) Control of Alcohol and Access to Bars (Children and Young Persons) Ordinance, 2013: Application Form for an Extended Hours Permit
- Policy Papers:
(i) Enhancing Council Business
(ii) Post-16 Education Policy
- Safeguarding Children issues
- Any Other Business
Message from His Excellency Mark Capes, Governor of Ascension Island
Ascension Island General Election – 31 October 2013
I would like to inform the community on Ascension that I intend to dissolve the Ascension Island Council on 2 October and to instruct that elections for a new Council are held on 31 October 2013.
My grateful thanks to the five members of the outgoing Council for their hard work and their commitment to the Ascension community over their term of office since March 2011. They have dealt with some difficult issues including the financial crisis that beset Ascension prior to 2011. The Island’s relative financial stability since then is largely a result of the difficult choices and decisions they made.
Your Councillors provided effective scrutiny of the Administrator and AIG policies and programmes. They have also represented Ascension at international gatherings including the Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council. Councillors Kitty George, Cathy Cranfield, Toni Bendall, Neil Lawrence and Cyril Leo deserve our thanks.
I am dissolving Council at this point primarily because I judge it important that the process
of developing the next annual budget for AIG should to be taken forward and owned by a
I look forward to a well managed election on 31 October with a high turnout by voters. This
is your opportunity to have your say and I encourage you to consider standing as a
23 September 2013
Notice from the Administrator
Draft Legislation on Protecting Marine Wildlife
The Island Council is considering draft legislation that will put in place mechanisms for the Administrator, with Island Council’s approval, to protect the Islands’ marine life and biodiversity. This will be used to control fishing or exploitation of our marine life when evidence suggests that not to do so would put its numbers or existence in jeopardy.
The measure arose initially as a result of concern about the harvesting of berried lobsters (i.e female lobsters/crayfish with eggs). If the legislation is enacted, it would be my proposal to seek Council approval for immediate restrictions with legal effect on the exploitation of berried lobsters.
Key components of the draft law are:
– Continuation of the current requirement to possess permits for the export of fish products.
– The Administrator, with Council approval, will be able to designate particular marine species for protection; licenses will be required for their fishing, sale or export. He or she can also designate areas or seasons where certain species cannot be fished, or ban the use of certain equipment – spear guns, long lines etc. All decision would be evidence based.
– Licences can be issued for scientific research of protected species.
– Penalties are introduced for breaking the terms of any restrictions including sequestration of equipment, and fines up to £20,000.
The aim is to protect the most vulnerable of our marine species. There is no intention for these restrictions to impact the small fishing sector on Ascension – nor should they. The numbers of the fish brought in are small. It is the harvesting of all marine life that needs to be carefully monitored and where protection is needed and justifiable, these new measures will provide the means to introduce them. No-one will want to see a species eradicated from Ascension’s shores.
This proposed legislation brings Ascension into line with other British Overseas Territories, though the measures are much lighter than in most other places.
Written comments for the Council’s consideration will be most welcome and can be sent to Nicola Dillon, or submitted through the Council’s website page.
Deadline: Friday 28 June.