The St Helena Legislature has been dissolved in preparation for the next general election.
On Monday, 2nd August 2021, Governor Dr Philip Rushbrook signed the Proclamation formally dissolving the St Helena Legislative Council at one minute to midnight as constitutionally required after a four-year period.
The St Helena Government (SHG) Administration is now preparing for a General Election within the next three months.
No date has been announced yet, but the next election will be historic for the UK South Atlantic territory, being the first under a ministerial system of government.
A statement from the Governor’s Office said, “The SHG Administration continues to perform its normal services. The dissolution does not affect the composition or function of the Executive Council, but it is generally obliged to make decisions in line with what was previously agreed politically during Council prior to dissolution.”
This means that no new ordinances, major policies or significant spending commitments can be made unless there is an emergency. In the unlikely occurrence of an emergency, the Constitution allows the Governor to reconvene the Legislative Council as necessary. These interim measures are provided in the Constitution to ensure the ‘continuity of government’.
Meanwhile, in one of its final decisions, the outgoing Legislative Council voted against implementing the recommendations of an independent review of salaries for Elected Members under the new Ministerial system.
Those recommendations will now go before the new Legislative Council for its decision once it is sworn after the upcoming election.
The new recommended salary levels represent a substantial increase over the present amounts received by the currently-named Councillors.
They include a 177 per cent increase for the person who will take on the role of Chief Minister at £50,000 per year. It was also recommended that Ministers would receive £35,000 per year – a 94% increase over current Executive Council Member remuneration, and that non-Ministerial councillors would receive £20,000 per year – a 42% increase.
An officials statement said, “The Governor is satisfied the remuneration levels recommended are both appropriate and sufficiently generous to attract councillors to serve St Helena. There is absolutely no intention to repeat the work of the Independent Body, as has been suggested by some councillors. Consequently, the remuneration levels recommended by the Independent Body will remain the amounts to be presented for agreement to the first Legislative Council after the General Election.”