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Tristan : Tristan - ExCo Report - 18th October 2011
Submitted by Tristan Times (Sarah Glass) 22.10.2011 (Article Archived on 05.11.2011)

This is my third, and probably my final, ExCo report; and I am sorry for delivering it a day late. There was urgent work to be done which made it impossible for me to complete the report yesterday.

 

ExCo Report - 18th October 2011

 

This is my third, and probably my final, ExCo report; and I am sorry for delivering it a day late. There was urgent work to be done which made it impossible for me to complete the report yesterday.

 

At just over 2 ˝ hours, this was my longest ExCo as Acting Governor, but that was not surprising with an agenda of some 12 items.

 

Most of the business was draft Bills for presentation to the next formal Legislative Council on 7th November.

 

All of the Bills, except one, have been the subject of public consultation led by the relevant Council Committees, so I shall mention each only briefly.

 

Two were from the Home & International Committee, and were presented by its Deputy Chairman, the Hon Tara Thomas. The first was the Media Standards Bill, which proposes to establish an independent body – the Media Standards Commission – to monitor the activities of the media, and to which members of the public can make complaints about the material published.

 

The other was a new Magistrates’ Court Bill. The main purpose of the Bill is to enable the appointment of a legally-qualified and salaried Chief Magistrate to develop the skills and experience of the Justices of the Peace by sitting with them in court, and by training and mentoring. This person, it is proposed will provide similar support to the Coroners; and will take on a number of other roles which require impartiality and independence – including Labour Regulating Authority and President of the Media Standards Commission.

 

However, the Bill also modernises a number of features of the current law, including incorporating into law some of the practices and procedures which are currently just matters of custom.

 

There were four Bills from the Natural Resources, Development & Environment Committee; these were presented by the Deputy Chairman – Hon Rodney Buckley. Three can conveniently be seen as a package, all to do with ‘biosecurity’ – that is, the laws available to prevent the importation of animal or plant diseases. The changes are to do with modernising the systems and making them less discretionary.

 

The fourth was the Dogs & Cats Bill, which is a revised version of a Bill on which consultation previously occurred (led at that time by Hon Derek Thomas); but the draft had been substantially revised so as to address a wide range of issues about animal health and encouraging neutering so as to control animal number.

 

Council noted that all of the Bills I have mentioned so far had been subject of substantial public consultation, which showed wide popular support. Council advised, and I agreed, that all of these Bills should be presented to Legislative Council next month.

 

The Bill which had not been consulted upon was a short technical one produced by the Acting Financial Secretary, authorising adjustments to the SHG budget for this financial year. It had been thoroughly discussed by the Economy and Finance Committee and was approved to proceed.

 

Apart from the Minutes, there were two other substantive items. One sought approval in principle that – in the event of the Air Access Project proceeding – there would be a need for SHG to identify and recruit a suitably qualified Fuel Management Contractor to manage of both aviation fuel and ground fuels. This was agreed to, which enables officials to start to develop more detailed proposals and investigate expressions of interest.

 

The other non-legislation issue was a proposal to approve basic principles of a Human Rights Action Plan so that FCO funding can be accessed to develop the principles into a detailed proposal. Council noted that Enhancing Democratic & Human rights is a primary objective of SHG, and readily approved this request. However, it was noted that part of the work to be done in developing the plan is to estimate costs, and these will – unless external funding can be secured – have to be balanced against other calls on the available funds.

 

The minutes of the previous meeting were approved and there were no significant matters arising.

 

The meeting closed a few minutes after mid-day.

 

Ken Baddon

Acting Governor

18th October 2011

 

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