News from the Tristan da Cunha Government, including the Governor, the Resident Administrator, Chief Islander and Tristan-related official events in the UK and abroad.

Tristan Administrator: Passing Away of Sean Burns

It is with the deepest sadness and regret to inform you Sean Burns, Administrator to Tristan da Cunha passed away last night (Thursday 16th March 2023) aboard RV Meteor, on his way to Cape Town.

Our deepest sympathies go to his wife Marina, and children, Damian and Kelly, and the rest of the family.

As an Administrator on Tristan, Ascension and Head of Governor's Office on St Helena over the past 12 years, his loss will be deeply felt across all the three territories.

Sean Burns, Late Administrator of Tristan da Cunha

Logo of the Governor's Office, St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha

Government building flags to be flown at half mast

In view of his service provided to the communities of the three territories of Tristan da Cunha, Ascension and St Helena, Acting Governor Greg Gibson has announced that flags will be flown at half-mast at Government Buildings across the three island’s between now and Monday 20th March.

17th March 2023

Tristan da Cunha Administrator Evacuated

Bulletin from Chief Islander James Glass

The Tristan Administrator Sean Burns was taken seriously ill on the 9th March 2023 and was admitted to hospital. With Tristan having no airport or vessel of its own, an emergency call was sent out to see if any vessels were in the area. A German research vessel, the RV Meteor, answered the call and arrived at Tristan on the 14th March. Sean was successfully transferred to the vessel for treatment in Cape Town.

RV Meteor awaiting the medevac

Above: RV Meteor awaiting the medevac

James Glass has been sworn-in as acting Administrator in Sean’s absence. The Governor, HE Nigel Phillips is en route to Tristan da Cunha for a planned visit and is expected to arrive on 20th March.

Tristan represented at Commonwealth Day events

Tristan greetings for new Duke of Edinburgh 

The new Duke of Edinburgh has received loyal Tristan da Cunha greetings – just three days after being granted the title.

Prince Edward talked with Tristan’s UK Representative Chris Carnegy at a reception in Buckingham Palace to mark Commonwealth Day on 13th March. Chris offered congratulations on his becoming Duke, and noted that his late father Prince Philip, who took a keen interest in the island, had been warmly welcomed on Tristan in 1957. A previous Duke, Queen Victoria’s son, gave his name to the Tristan settlement Edinburgh of the Seven Seas during a visit 100 years earlier.
HRH Prince Edward The Duke of Edinburgh
(Royal Website)
Chris arriving at Westminster Abbey
Photos from Chris Carnegy unless stated otherwise.
Chris with Lord Goldsmith,
Minister of State for Overseas Territories, Commonwealth, Energy, Climate and Environment
Above: Chris with Baroness Scotland,
Commonwealth Secretary-General
Left: Chris with Stephen Twigg, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association

Tristan was generously included in a full programme of events, even though the island’s link to the Commonwealth is an indirect one via the UK’s membership. The day began with a flag-raising ceremony at Parliament, organised by the Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle. There, Chris met Overseas Territories minister Lord Zac Goldsmith and Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Stephen Twigg.

 The day’s central event was the Commonwealth Day Service of Celebration at Westminster Abbey. This lively occasion combined a religious service with music, dance and readings from many parts of the organisation’s global family. Chris met Commonwealth Secretary-General Baroness Patricia Scotland.

 The reception at Buckingham Palace rounded-off the day and brought a chance to speak with the Queen Consort as well as the Duke.

Above: Chris arriving at Buckingham Palalce

Right: Mr Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle
addresses the ceremony

The official Royal website Commonwealth Day report

King Charles III and The Queen Consort enter Westminster Abbey for the Commonwealth Day Service
(The Commonwealth Website)

The King, The Queen Consort and other members of the Royal Family joined a 2,000-strong congregation at Westminster Abbey to celebrate the remarkable organisation which is the Commonwealth, as well as hosting a reception at Buckingham Palace at which the Commonwealth Charter was signed by His Majesty

The King and The Queen Consort were greeted by members of the Ngāti Rānana London Māori Club as they arrived at the Abbey.

Ahead of the reception, The King signed the Commonwealth Charter; a single document outlining the sixteen core values of the association, which the leaders of the Commonwealth have committed to upholding.

(Royal Website)

His Majesty The King's Commonwealth Day Message, Monday 13 March 2023

Commonwealth Day was an occasion of particular pride for my beloved Mother, The late Queen – a treasured opportunity to celebrate our Commonwealth family, to whose service she dedicated her long and remarkable life.

In succeeding Her Majesty as Head of the Commonwealth, I draw great strength from her example, together with all that I have learnt from the extraordinary people I have met, throughout the Commonwealth, over so many years.

The Commonwealth has been a constant in my own life, and yet its diversity continues to amaze and inspire me. Its near-boundless potential as a force for good in the world demands our highest ambition; its sheer scale challenges us to unite and be bold.

This week marks the tenth anniversary of the Charter of the Commonwealth, which gives expression to our defining values – peace and justice; tolerance, respect and solidarity; care for our environment, and for the most vulnerable among us.

These are not simply ideals. In each lies an imperative to act, and to make a practical difference in the lives of the 2.6 billion people who call the Commonwealth home.

Whether on climate change and biodiversity loss, youth opportunity and education, global health, or economic co-operation, the Commonwealth can play an indispensable role in the most pressing issues of our time. Ours is an association not just of shared values, but of common purpose and joint action.

In this we are blessed with the ingenuity and imagination of a third of the world’s population, including one and a half billion people under the age of thirty. Our shared humanity contains an immensely precious diversity of thought, culture, tradition and experience. By listening to each other, we will find so many of the solutions that we seek.

This extraordinary potential, which we hold in common, is more than equal to the challenges we face.  It offers us unparalleled strength not merely to face the future, but to build it. Here, the Commonwealth has an incredible opportunity, and responsibility, to create a genuinely durable future – one that offers the kind of prosperity that is in harmony with Nature and that will also secure our unique and only planet for generations to come.

The myriad connections between our nations have sustained and enriched us for more than seven decades. Our commitment to peace, progress and opportunity will sustain us for many more.

Let ours be a Commonwealth that not only stands together, but strives together, in restless and practical pursuit of the global common good.

The King and The Queen Consort were greeted by members of the Ngāti Rānana London Māori Club
as they arrived at the Abbey. (Royal Website)

Governor Phillips to Visit Tristan da Cunha

HE Nigel Phillips will be visiting Tristan from 20th to 22nd March 2023, accompanied by his wife Emma.
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