The Social & Community Development Committee held their monthly meeting on Wednesday, 14 March 2018.
The following items were discussed in the open session:
The draft Marriage (Amendment) Regulations were considered and agreed for forwarding to Executive Council for approval. These Regulations set out the requirements for premises to be approved for purposes of solemnisation of marriages and to prescribe forms to be used and fees payable for purposes of the Marriage Ordinance 2017.
Following an update on a proposal for a Births & Deaths (Amendment) Bill, it was agreed that the draft legislation should be updated in light of the discussion. The proposed Regulations will seek to address, amongst other things, the current situation whereby the Births & Deaths (Registration) Ordinance only permits, for example, a birth that occurs on St Helena to be registered. This will be referred back to the Committee at a later date.
As previously reported, new Liquor Licence Fees were agreed last month but work was ongoing with regards to the occasional liquor sales licences. This work has now been completed and the Committee agreed for the resulting new draft Liquor (Amendment) Bill 2018 to be forwarded to Executive Council for approval. This Bill intends to amend the Liquor Ordinance, 1988, to make provision for a single application for an occasional liquor licence for more than one entertainment or special occasion. These licences will be granted only if the location and other arrangements for the sale and consumption of alcohol are identical and the licence will be valid for no more than 26 specified occasions, covering a maximum of two days in any seven day period.
The Welfare of Children (Children's Residential Home) Regulations which had previously been discussed have to be considered by the Safeguarding Children's Board before coming back to Committee for endorsement and forwarding to Executive Council. At present, the Welfare of Children's Ordinance deals with the requirements that a Children's Home that is run privately must comply with. There are no specific provisions for Children's Homes run by the Government.
The Committee was provided with an update on Human Rights/Disabilities by the Equality & Human Rights CEO/Commissioner and the Committee supported the Commission's proposed inquiry into the conditions of HM Prison.
The following was discussed in the closed session:
The Committee was advised that the review of the Immigration Ordinance had been completed. The Working Group will now review the recommendations and will be working towards separating Immigration Land Holding from the Ordinance with separate recommendations as to how Land Holding issues should be dealt with. In addition, separate recommendations will be carried out on Asylum Seekers to include a provision for an appeals system. It is expected that the details of the full review, together with the recommendations on Immigration Land Holding will be presented to Elected Members in May with a view to public consultation being held.
On Freedom of Information and Data Protection, it is proposed to have discussions with all Elected Members to consider a way forward. Regarding a review of the Social Security Ordinance, the next step is for the Committee to discuss the options that have been identified.
An update on safeguarding was given by the Acting Director of Safeguarding, Carol George.
The Social & Community Development Committee comprises Councillors Anthony Green (Chairman), Cyril Leo (Deputy Chairman), Kylie Hercules, Derek Thomas and Gavin Ellick. Committee Secretary on this occasion was Lydia Buchanan.
Source: St Helena Government