Message from Alex Mitham at the turning of the year
Administrator Alex Mitham reviewed 2014 and looked forward to 2015 during his speech at a Reception he hosted at the Residency on Old Year's Night 2014 (see also the Christmas and New Year Page for more on the event itself)
As ever Old Years Night is a time to reflect on the past 12 months and look forward to next year - Every year seems to get busier though, and 2014 was no different, but I think a few areas stand out:
Firstly we have just had the Joint Ministerial Council back in the UK where Ian Lavarello and Chris Bates expertly championed Tristan da Cunha causes with Ministers, Officials and other OTs. While meetings in the UK may not mean much to everyone’s day to day lives here, I hope people will feel proud of the fact that Tristan was the toast of the occasion – highlighting its proactive nature, the ability to manage finances and projects by yourselves. Ensuring the island is as far as possible self-sustainable. And of course the Ministers and all the other OTs could now taste our famous lobster.
We started the Water and Sewage Projects. These are major infrastructure projects that should see the island good for another 40 years, and while there have been set backs - I can’t thank people enough for their hard work, perseverance and patience in seeing them through to the end.
To ensure we can protect the vital potato crops, the Agriculture department started the new fencing project to protect the Patches for years to come. I’m sure visitors may be asking whether we have ‘super cows’ that can jump over these new fences!
I would like to thank the Finance Department, and all departments for monitoring and scrutinising budgets to ensure we remain in the black. For such a small island, it is vital that we have healthy reserves in case anything should happen to our key revenue stream, and I will go into more detail on that point later. But we cannot be complacent. The importance of reducing costs, is vital for the survival of the community.
I am pleased to say that the RSPB have concluded their feasibility study of eradicating mice on Gough, and we remain hopefully that the project can now begin in earnest in 2018. This initiative is absolutely vital and we will need to generate support from all corners to ensure it goes ahead and protects all the critically endangered species. While I don’t want to over egg the issue - we have a huge responsibility in ensuring this project happens. The world is watching.
We had great news this year that we can now sell Tristan lobster in the EU. Being able to sell Tristan lobster in the UK, France, Germany, Spain Switzerland etc is a huge coup and opens up an important market to the island. I want to thank everyone who has played a part in this process. It has taken 11 years, but after the reception it has received in the UK and elsewhere - it was worth it.
The Fishing season around the outer islands has started well but Tristan is obviously a concern and we will have to monitor that carefully working in partnership with Ovenstone to agree the best way forward. But it once again highlights the fragility in our financial situation and importance of ensuring we scrutinise costs.
2015 will be another busy year
It will be vital that we try to keep reducing costs, waste and diversify our economy. New initiatives such as the Island bakery and even the joint venture with the Isle of Man in producing Tristan Beer will hopefully help in this regard. There are other ideas for next year as well but these will be kept under wraps until we can finalise details.
Following on from reducing costs - We have the renewable energy pilot in January to see whether renewable means can help to lower energy bills in the future and assist the island to become more self-sustainable.
We should see further repairs to the harbour – deepening the harbour mouth, and filling in the many cavities in the harbour wall.
We should also hopefully see the start on the new hospital in the latter part of the year.
Hopefully fine weather will prevail and we get a good cruise Ship Season and entice more tourists to these shores
I know everyone would now like to welcome Chris Carnegy as the new UK Rep and Jim Kerr as the UK Adviser. I am also happy to announce that Chris Carnegy should be visiting us in June.
Last but not least - We will need to start thinking about 2016 and the 200th anniversary celebrations.
December 2014 UK Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) Meeting
The annual Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) brings together political leaders from the Overseas Territories and UK Ministers. It will be held in the first week of December. The JMC is the principle forum for reviewing and implementing the shared strategy of all the Overseas Territories for promoting the security, good governance and prosperity of the Territories and their sustainable economic and social development.
Tristan da Cunha's Chief Islander Ian Lavarello and Tristan Government's UK Representative Chris Bates will be attending the event. Also see reports of the JMC and meetings leading up to the council on a separate 2014 JMC page.
As part of this years process for the JMC, all Overseas Territories were asked to compile a progress grid of that particular territory's actions since the last meeting. TDC Government have provided a comprehensive overview of the steps that have been taken, including a number of projects that should assist the infrastructure for the community.
This paper is available to download as a PDF: Joint Ministerial Council 2013 - Progress on Implementation of Agreed Actions and is the first such Tristan Government paper to be available to the general public in a new initiative.
One of the projects relates to a renewable energy pilot to be started in 2015.
Further details can be found on the Tristan Renewable Energy Project page.
New Tristan da Cunha UK Representative and UK Assistant Appointed
Announcement from Tristan Administrator Alex Mitham May 2014
Following the decision of the present UK Representative Chris Bates to retire from the post at the end of 2014, the Government of Tristan da Cunha (TdC) recently advertised for a new UK Representative and UK Assistant.
As Administrator I am very pleased to announce that Chris Carnegy will be our new UK Representative, while Jim Kerr will become our first UK Representative Assistant. Both Chris and Jim will start in January 2015.
Chris has a background in the media and a keen interest in Tristan da Cunha, including conducting live radio reports from the island in 2011.
Jim Kerr is also well known to the island, first arriving in the 1980s and working off and on at St Marys School until the present day.
Both Chris and Jim have a passion for the Overseas Territories, and especially in supporting and promoting Tristan da Cunha’s interests around the world. The community is looking forward to working with them in the future.
The Governor, His Excellency Mark Capes stated:
“I am delighted that Chris Carnegy and Jim Kerr have been selected, and I warmly congratulate both on their appointments, and look forward to meeting them in due course.
Their valuable skills and knowledge of the Island make both Chris and Jim well placed to represent Tristan da Cunha’s interests in the UK and further afield. These are unique roles for a unique island and I wish them every success in the coming years.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Chris Bates, who I had the pleasure of meeting on the RMS St Helena in November 2013. Chris has been an incredible Ambassador for Tristan over the past 6 years and I know how much the island has benefited from his support. I wish him all the best for the future”.