Author: Alasdair Bain

Governor Appoints New Administrators of Tristan da Cunha

The Governor, Dr Philip Rushbrook, is delighted to announce the appointment of Steve Townsend and Fiona Kilpatrick as the new joint Administrators of Tristan da Cunha. Steve and Fiona, who are married, will be filling the post on a job share basis. This approach has been adopted in other FCO postings in recent years.

Fiona will be Tristan’s first substantive female Administrator and this will be the first time the post has been filled on a job share basis. They intend to take up the position in January 2020 and will replace Sean Burns, who with his wife Marina, will be moving to Ascension in March 2020.

Fiona Kilpatrick has worked in a number of British Government Departments since 1987, including the Departments for Work and Pensions; Education and Employment; and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.  Much of her work has been on European Union and international employment and social security policy, but she also helped establish the UK Government’s Disability Confident campaign. 

She has worked with various UN organisations on projects ranging from introducing health insurance in Ghana, to a programme to combat human trafficking in Bolivia and Argentina.  She has also worked at the Holy See in Rome.  She very much enjoys cooking, reading and watching films.  She grew up by the sea in Scotland, and is keenly anticipating a return to littoral life! 

Steve Townsend has been in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office since 1980, and has wide experience across the world.  He has served in Venezuela, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Spain (where he and Fiona met), Egypt, Bolivia and the Holy See. 

In various roles in London, he has worked on desks covering Nigeria, Gibraltar, the evolution of soft power (including the British Council and the BBC World Service), and most recently he has been working in the Modern Slavery team in the Human Rights and Policy Unit.  In his spare time, he enjoys reading and doing quizzes – but expects that he will have to add a number of outdoors pursuits to that list! 

Steve and Fiona said; “We are delighted to be appointed as joint Administrator to Tristan da Cunha, and are very much looking forward to meeting the whole community and working with the Island Council. This will be a unique experience for us, and will bring new challenges – and some that are very different from any we have had before; and we are very excited by the possibilities.”

Governor departs Ascension

On Sunday 14 July 2019 HE Governor Philip Rushbrook departed Ascension to return to St Helena. This concluded his first visit to Ascension since taking office in May 2019.

The Governor enjoyed a full programme of events whilst on island and was pleased to be able to meet with so many people in the week he spent here.

As well as hosting a town hall meeting and drinks reception for members of the public he met with heads of employing organisations, the Island Council, representatives of voluntary organisations and attended a meeting of the Safeguarding Children Board.

The Governor was able to tour much of the island’s critical infrastructure to gain a better understanding of some of the practical challenges faced in operating services on Ascension and how these are tackled, as well as plans for the future.

During his visit the Governor was able to witness the USAF change of command ceremony as Major Bouffard relinquished command of 45th MSG Detachment 2 to Major Bongioanni.

He also toured Two Boats School and attended the end of year awards ceremony, where he made several presentations to the students.

As his visit drew to a close the Governor even managed to observe some of the natural and manmade heritage Ascension has to offer during a trip on the Queen Atlantis as well as find the energy to complete a letterbox walk.

Ahead of his departure the Governor said:

“I was delighted to be able to visit Ascension so early in my tenure as Governor. I was impressed with the resilience demonstrated by the population here in the face of the ongoing suspension of the airbridge and the real sense of community exhibited.

Although only here for a week I was pleased to be able to speak with lots of people and hear about their hopes and concerns for the future.

I’m already looking forward to returning to Ascension and, having been here for myself, am now even more proud to be Governor of this wonderful and unique island.”

Governor arrives on Ascension

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.

Dr Philip Rushbrook sworn in as Governor of St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha

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.