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New Council Elected for Ascension Island

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.

Ascension Island Council Members

Newly elected Ascension Island Council (front row) 

2 September 2016

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Children’s playground gets a revamp

Article by Nicola Dillon; Photos by Colin Duncan

playground 1

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.

playground 3

playground 4 playground 2

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!


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Jacqui Ellick takes oath of office

Jacqui Ellick Takes Oath of Office photo

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

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Notice of Council Meeting & Agenda

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Notice of council meeting 30 september

Formal meeting of the Ascension Island Council
Date: Monday, 30th September 2013
Venue: Court House
Time: 09:00hrs


  1. Introductory Remarks
  2. Confirmation of Minutes:
    (i) Ascension Island Council Meeting, 8 August 2013
  3. Matters Arising
  4. Legislation:
    (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
  5. Policy Papers:
    (i) Enhancing Council Business
    (ii) Post-16 Education Policy
  6. Safeguarding Children issues
  7. Any Other Business


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Ascension Island Council – General Election

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Message from His Excellency Mark Capes, Governor of Ascension Island

Ascension Island General Election – 31 October 2013

Governor Mark CapesI 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
new Council.

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

Mark Capes
23 September 2013

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Public Consultation – Draft Marine Protection Legislation

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Notice from the Administrator

Draft Legislation on Protecting Marine Wildlife

Public Consultation

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.

A copy of the draft legislation can be downloaded here or obtained from Nicola Dillon on 7000 ext 100, or Nicola.dillon@ascension.gov.ac or by simply calling into the Administration Building.

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.

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Island Council Update May 2013

AIG HeaderFrom the Administrator

Island Council Meeting, 23 May 2013

The Island Council met on Thursday 23 May in the Court House. The Acting Governor, Owen O’Sullivan, attended by telephone. All five island Councillors attended: Kitty George, Neil Lawrence, Cathy Cranfield, Cyril Leo and Toni Bendall.

Children in Bars

The Administrator submitted a draft law, The Control of Alcohol and Access to Bars (Children and Young Persons) Ordinance 2013, for the Council’s approval. Debate centred on the time limit for Friday and Saturday nights. The draft had a time limit of 2230 (1030pm) after which children and young persons must not be in a bar or club. There was agreement that during the week the timing of 2100 (9pm) was appropriate. But, Councillors disagreed on 1030pm as a limit for Friday and Saturday nights. Most island Councillors viewed 1130pm or midnight as more appropriate options. The Administrator confirmed that he was not prepared to go beyond 1030pm.

Island Councillors voted to advise the Governor NOT to enact the draft legislation. In addition, Councillors voted in favour of advising the Governor to (a) amend the upper limit for Fridays and Saturday nights to 1130pm, and (b) to postpone consideration of the legislation until later in the year when clarity on youth clubs and social service arrangements would be available.

It is unusual for the Island Council to conclude that proposed Government legislation should not be enacted. The Acting Governor informed the Island Council that he would covey the decision and the points made by Island Councillors to the Governor on his return to St Helena on 13 June. Under the constitution, the Island Council’s role is to advise the Governor on business such as draft legislation. It is for the Governor to decide whether to accept that advice or not. The Council and the community
will be informed of the Governor’s decision as soon as it is known.

Ban on Smoking in Public Places

The Island Council approved legislation that will ban smoking in public places. The aim is to reduce passive smoking by others sharing public facilities. The law will be identical to that already in force in St Helena. Most employers already have their own smoking bans in place. This will reinforce that. Some clubs may have to change their current arrangements slight and Government will work with them. There will also be a public awareness campaign.

The impact is likely to be minimal, although the ordinance restricts young persons under the age of 18 from being supplied or possessing tobacco in a public place. The current age restriction is young persons under the age of 16 years. The law will come into effect on 1 August 2013.

Entry Control

Councillor Leo introduced proposals for procedures in the handling of extensions of visit permits and flexibility for individuals on visit permits being able to undertake short-term work assignments, seek employment. The Administrator undertook to consult and review the proposals.

Public Transport

The Administrator reported that the current take-up of the public transport system was poor. It was losing money – something that needed to change. More needed to be done to promote the service, and to understand why residents were not using it. In response to a point raised by Councillor Cranfield, the Administrator said the case for a service on Saturdays between Two Boats and Georgetown on Saturdays to allow residents to shop at Solomons was not yet justified. He had asked Solomons to consider options for a delivery service. That was being considered.


Hamish Stewart, Director of Resources, briefed Councillors on the review process he was undertaking into AIG finances and on-going projects. He would make a formal, detailed statement to a meeting of the Island Council in June – a copy of which would also be made widely available to the community. A mini-budget would be required in September to address a number of new measures needed to allow the Government to reduce costs and find new revenue streams from areas where the Government is currently under-performing. One such example is from existing tourism and cruise ships.

Education of 16-18 Year Olds

Councillor Cranfield raised this issue with Minister Mark Simmonds in December 2012 in the margins of the Overseas Territory Joint Ministerial Council in London. The Administrator reported that the FCO had followed up to see if there was any support that might be available from the national government or local councils to support Ascension students doing their A-Levels in the UK. There were none. It was a matter for Ascension, employers or individuals.

Hamish Stewart, Director of Resources, in responding to a separate point, said he would review the existing policy on providing limited support to the costs of A-Level studies in the UK, with a particular view to extension to St Helena.

Medical Referrals

The Administrator issued a revised policy on medical referrals for non-elective procedures. This made it clearer that where a patient does not take his or her leave in the UK, referral to the UK was still possible when in the patient’s interest. Normally, such referrals coincided with expected holidays in the UK.

Colin Wells,
27 May 2013

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Notice of Council Meeting

Dear Everyone,

There will be a formal meeting of the Ascension Island Council on Thursday, 23 May at 1.00pm (see notice below).

Members of the public are invited to forward items which they would like raised at this meeting to elected members.  Their contact details are:

Toni Bendall                    toni.bendall@ascension.gov.ac

Cathy Cranfield                cathy.cranfield@ascension.gov.ac

Kitty George                    kitty.george@ascension.gov.ac

Neil Lawrence                  Tel no 6145

Cyril Leo                         councillorleo@cwimail.co.ac

Notice of Council Meeting

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