The inaugural meeting of the newly elected Legislative Council took place in the Council Chamber today. Local media, members of the public and Public Service officials attended to witness this historic first formal meeting under the new Ministerial government.


The proceedings were opened with the entry of the President, His Excellency Governor Dr Philip Rushbrook, followed by Prayers and the Administration of Oaths where each Member was called forward to take before the Governor the Oath of Allegiance and Due execution of office of Member of the Legislative Council.


Governor Rushbrook presided over the meeting until the Speaker was elected.


In his opening Address (full copy attached to this release) HE the Governor said:


“Acknowledging my commission from Her Majesty The Queen, I welcome Honourable Members, officials and others in attendance at this first Legislative Council of the new term of office. I extend my congratulations on your election and look forward to working with all Councillors. Let me first take a moment to thank Gillian Francis, Carol George and the many other officials involved in conducting an efficient and well-run General Election. I was delighted at the strong voter turnout, which was monitored for the first time, albeit remotely, by international observers from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. I look forward to receiving their report shortly.


“…Today is the dawn of a Ministerial government and I hope the selection of the first Chief Minister will be achieved later in this session. Without exaggeration that moment will be a truly historic one for St Helena.


“…Each Elected Member’s role, albeit a ministerial one or a representational and scrutiny one, is a fundamental part of a cooperative government. One where differences can be debated, minds are open to alternative views and if a majority decision has to be made all Councillors can find it in themselves to support the mainstream will of Legislative Council. Pragmatism to overcome differences and acceptance of a majority view are at the heart of the democratic process.


“…Various serious financial, economic, legal and community issues confront the Island. It is essential they are addressed early in the life of this new Council for the good of St Helena. These issues will become apparent to Ministers and Councillors in their briefings from Portfolio Directors. The decisions to be made will be difficult and not necessarily popular with everyone but if these are not addressed then the services and prospects for our Island will be affected. It is your role from hereon and throughout the next four years to ensure on behalf of the people the future prosperity of St Helena can be secured. You carry a weighty burden.”


Elections then followed for the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and Chief Minister:




Four nominations were received for the role of Speaker. Mr Cyril Gunnell was elected as Speaker of the House.


The remaining proceedings were presided over by the newly elected Speaker, following the taking of Oaths before the Governor.


Deputy Speaker


Three nominations were received for the role of Deputy Speaker.  Mrs Cathy Cranfield was elected as Deputy Speaker of the House.


Chief Minister


A single nomination was received for Chief Minister, resulting in Councillor Julie Thomas being elected as the first ever Chief Minister for St Helena.


The meeting closed at approximately 2.15pm, following the adjournment debate where Members reiterated their commitment to working together to achieve a better future for St Helena and its people.


#StHelena #LegislativeCouncil #ChiefMinister

25 October 2021