Executive Council met today with four items on the open agenda. For the first item, the Council sat as the Planning Authority and considered an application from Connect St Helena Ltd to install Phase 2 of the Solar Farm situated at the Ex-Rifle Range Site in Half Tree Hollow. This item was deferred from the previous meeting to allow members to undertake a site visit to view the area under consideration. Following the visit, members were happy to approve full planning permission for Phase 2 only, subject to appropriate conditions as recommended by the Acting Chief Planning Officer. Members requested an additional condition to be applied; that the applicant should be required to ensure that the site, including the access road, is fully rehabilitated once works have been finalised.
Council then went on to consider a request for the Charities (Amendment) Bill, 2018 to be published and presented as Government Business at the next formal meeting of the Legislative Council. Members were mindful that there had been consultation with charitable organisations to discuss the draft Bill and that there was good support for the draft provisions contained therein. Council were content to approve the request. Council also considered the Charities (Amendment) Regulations, 2018, which provide for the Register to be available for public inspection at the office of the Registrar and for changes to the Charities Fees which were introduced in 2005. Members agreed that the Regulations should be enacted.
For the next item on the agenda Council was asked to advise whether the Legislative Council Remuneration and Allowances Amendment Bill (2018) should be published and presented as Government Business at a formal meeting of the Legislative Council. An independent body to review Councillors' remuneration had been established in 2016 and the resulting report was completed in March 2017 and considered by the previous Executive Council in April 2017. The recommendations of the report were accepted by the previous Legislative Council at an informal meeting in May 2017. The report recommended a general uplift in Councillors remuneration where an Elected Member would now receive an annual salary of Pound 14,000 and an Executive Council Member would receive an annual salary of Pound 18,000. The Speaker and Deputy Speaker would receive annual salaries of Pound 9,000 and Pound 3,000 respectively. The report recognised the increased workload of Councillors, including the increase in the number of meetings attended and the increase in the number of out of office hours which members regularly commit to. In considering this request, it was noted that the Legislative Council Remuneration and Allowances had not been amended since 2009. It was also noted that Members had deferred an earlier introduction of this amendment, in recognition of budget constraints. On this basis, Members were content to approve the Bill as requested.
The final item on the agenda related to the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) which guides SHG's planning and budgeting process. The MTEF process requires the determining of priorities for the forthcoming planning period and Council was asked to approve a list of strategic objectives as a part of this process. This item had been deferred from the previous agenda to allow Members to have additional information and this had now been provided. Members approved the strategic objectives enabling SHG to begin the next annual planning and budgeting process with a clear and focussed strategic direction.
The meeting closed at 11.15.
Source: St Helena Government