Dr Philip Rushbrook was the first Governor-Elect to arrive by air.

Governor inaugurated at St Helena ceremony

Inauguration Ceremony held on Saturday 11th May
Reports and photos from St Helena Government sources

On Saturday 11th May 2019, Dr Philip Rushbrook, accompanied by his wife Janis, arrived to take up his role as the 69th Governor of St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, and the first to arrive by air.  Dr Rushbrook was sworn in during an afternoon ceremony 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.

Governor-Elect Philip Rushbrook and his wife Janis
disembarking at St Helena Airport.
Dr and Mrs Rushbrook being welcomed
as they set foot on St Helena.
The full welcoming party for the Rushbrooks at the entrance to the St Helena Airport terminal.
After thanking those who organised and took part in his welcome and inauguration cremony, HE Governor Rushbrook continued to say -

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.

In the last few months I have spent much of my time talking to government departments, a spectrum of organisations and businesses, and many individuals and Islanders. The purpose was to better understand their experiences and aspirations for the future. I was struck by their universal desire to see the territories develop socially and economically.

I have been fortunate too, to meet Members of the elected councils for St Helena and Ascension who attended the Joint Ministerial Council in London last December, as well as the former and current Chief Islander from Tristan da Cunha. They too, demonstrated a 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.

HE Governor Philip Rushbrook
giving his inauguration speech.

I commit myself to listen to the expectations and concerns of Islanders, of elected representatives and of businesses across the territories and to encourage their endeavours and potential. Equally, I will be asking what more they will do to make the goal of economic development and greater prosperity a reality. We all recognise that the present status quo is not going to be enough to improve our lot. From what I have already heard from Islanders, many realise the uncertainties that come with change need to be resolved cordially but promptly. There are ahead of us serious conversations to be had, difficult decisions to be made and honourable compromises to find if we are to remain on track to secure our collective futures. And, we need to believe we are able to achieve the future we seek because without that no one else will.

HE Governor Rushbrook went on to speak in details about St Helena and Ascension Island, and then went on to highlight Tristan da Cunha...

Tristan da Cunha, like the other islands has a fragile economy. I will be taking a special interest alongside the Island Council in supporting the population to define a pragmatic marine protection regime that both protects its pristine status whilst maintaining its ability to diversify the economy and increase income from sustainable fishing. I am pleased to learn that with ‘Blue Belt’ assistance the Wave Dancer, the fisheries patrol vessel, has nearly completed its refit and will soon be on its way back to Tristan waters, and the island recently took delivery of a new conservation boat and received funding for local research projects. The planning for the major RSPB/Tristan government led restoration project on the World Heritage Site of Gough Island is on track to commence next year. In April, I had the opportunity to meet the three A-level students from Tristan. They were shining examples of the energy and vitality of the next generation and wish them every success in their studies.

I reiterate today my promise, given in my announcement as the next Governor back in December, to visit Ascension and Tristan da Cunha as soon as practicable during 2019.

So, let me summarise three basic themes I see for my tenure as Governor. First, to maintain and build upon the achievements of Governor Honan and earlier governors. To serve the best interests of the peoples of the islands and promote the loyal and unshakable links with the UK.

Secondly, to work constructively in partnership with elected representatives, officials, businesses and communities. A partnership that focuses wholeheartedly on stimulating opportunities, viable investments and personal initiative to deliver social and economic improvements.

Thirdly, whilst I appreciate all change requires compromise and creativity, I see it is equally important we maintain the character of the heritage, natural environment and culture of our islands.

In closing, living in remote locations, necessity has often been the driver of invention and motivation. In the narrow window of opportunity we have over the next few years, to achieve a brighter future your creativity, enthusiasm and self-confidence are now required more than ever. If we are to take forward our opportunities, I look forward to working in partnership with you and UK agencies to ensure good and efficient governance; open, fair and timely decision-making; a business-friendly investment environment; building personal skills and opportunity; improvements to access and infrastructure; and the application of modern values and workable standards.

For St Helena, a rejuvenated belief in what we can achieve will encourage investors to have confidence; for Ascension, belief will help generate the strength to endure ahead of the runway being repaired; for Tristan belief will inspire continued confidence in your key markets and partners.

My heartfelt thank you for your warm welcome today

HE Governor Rushbrook with his wife Janis
during the inauguration ceremony.
HE Governor Rushbrook meeting St Helena scouts.
General view of the inauguration ceremony on the Supreme Court Terrace
in Jamestown, St Helena on 11th May 2019,
showing HE Governor Philip Rushbrook giving his address.