VVIP TRIP – MARCH 2022 QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
The Expedition Is this the same Titan flight that SHG cancelled for the public in order to facilitate this trip?
The cancellation of the Titan Flight at end-March was not related to this proposed expedition.
Is SHG money going into funding this in any way?
The proposed expedition will be fully funded by the 40 VVIPs.
Why are we only hearing about this now?
While this idea first arose a while ago, to enhance understanding and to objectively consider this opportunity, adequate discussions and research have been undertaken. We are now content that the information provided allows for the idea to be seriously discussed and presented to the community for their views before making a decision on how best to proceed.
Do we know the names of those coming, their background, professional interests and specific interests in St Helena?
We have been made aware of who will be coming on the trip but due to security reasons, limited details will be released to the public in advance.
Will the people and itinerary be made public?
If the proposed expedition is agreed, due to security reasons the list of delegates will be published closer to the date of the proposed trip. A brief summary of what is intended to be included in the itinerary will also be made available, however as this trip will be a mixture of leisure and business, again for security reasons, a detailed itinerary will not be made public.
Potential Investment Opportunities What are the definite benefits to the Island, including to the private sector?
The expedition would see an immediate boost in funding for the British Napoleonic Bicentenary Trust which is anticipated to raise as a minimum £0.5 million to be put back into built heritage projects across the Island. The exposure for St Helena will be significant given the networks of the delegates and proposed coverage through at least three reputable international media organisations. Whilst there is no absolute assurance that there will be investment, it will be largely up to the Island to sell the opportunities that exist. A number of the delegates have interests far wider than just investment, some have interest in the environment including the blue and green agenda, climate change and nature-based solutions. St Helena could offer an opportunity for philanthropy and charitable giving which could in turn, help the Island achieve its vision.
A prospectus will be developed to outline the potential opportunities and the private sector will be invited to contribute. Businesses on-Island could have an opportunity to network and interact with successful business leaders, this type of exposure would be difficult to replicate. It really is a unique opportunity to have so many successful business people in the one place at same time.
Do we know for definite how much these people are likely to invest in the Island or what they are interested in investing in?
No, it will be up to St Helena to sell the investment opportunities that exist. Are any investments guaranteed? No. But £0.5 million is guaranteed for the British Napoleonic Bicentenary Trust if this trip goes ahead.
Exactly what are we asking them to invest in?
Is there a list of built heritage that will be presented to these people as potential investments?
A prospectus will be developed.
Will members of the public be able to add ideas to the Prospectus?
Yes, in addition to the local business community, there will be opportunity for the public to put forward ideas for potential investment.
Where will they stay and what will they be doing, and with who?
The delegation will stay at the Mantis Hotel, the local private sector tourism businesses are being contacted to gauge interest in offering various experiences in the Marine and terrestrial environment, history and culture. Most importantly the delegates will want to meet with the people of St Helena. Quarantine Arrangements.
If the visit goes ahead and is successful, will this pave the way to permanently change the COVID restrictions to allow family and friends the opportunity to travel to St Helena unrestricted, proving they have completed a mandatory period of industry standard quarantine and testing before travel?
The current quarantine arrangements remain in place up until 31 March 2022. There have not been any discussions around opening the Island to pre-quarantine.
If not, why are we making an exception for these people only?
Each case would be reviewed on its merits, however significant consideration for the trip has been the chartering of the Titan aircraft where only the delegation and crew will travel on board.
If an outbreak did occur because of this trip tell us how prepared is Health (including oxygen plant and staffing), lockdown measures, PPE and hand sanitizer being available to the community etc?
Like with all emergencies Health is ready to respond, but due to staff shortages of Doctors, Nurses and Allied Health professionals we don’t have the staff to stand up Bradley’s and also run routine services. Services would be more affected if there was an outbreak. There is sufficient PPE for 10 days in the Pharmacy with additional supplies stored at Bradley’s. It is hoped that everyone has their own sanitizer or these can be brought from on island stores. The civil works on the Oxygen plant is complete, we are awaiting piping and the battery packs for the backup power supply, if these arrive as planned then it is anticipated that the plant will be commissioned in March 2022.
Has a risk assessment been undertaken by the Health Services Directorate and what is the outcome?
The Health Services Directorate has provided feedback on the proposal. Due mainly to the concerns around current staffing levels, the impact of community spread is high. With this said, the mitigation measures outlined in the terms of the pre arrival quarantine, with the majority of the population being vaccinated, the likelihood of this materialising is significantly reduced. It must be recognised however, that these proposed measures places the island at higher risk in comparison to our current quarantine arrangements.
How confident are we that the delegates will strictly quarantine as per our requirements?
There will be a requirement for each delegate to sign up to an agreement to abide by the proposed quarantine and testing requirements. The majority of the delegates themselves will be in the vulnerable category and will not want to catch COVID 19 or indeed be responsible for exposing St Helena to COVID 19 given our Covid free status. In addition if a delegate catches COVID during the 10 day pre arrival quarantine they will automatically forfeit their seat of the trip and will lose the funds that have been deposited into the Trust.
What will happen if one or more of the delegates test positive on arrival in St Helena?
Anyone testing positive for COVID on arrival or during the four day stay will be required to go into isolation. Procedures for the remainder of the delegation is still being finalised, in consultation with both parties to ensure we minimise the risk to the community.
Will there be any qualified medical practitioners included in the delegation?
Yes there is qualified medical practitioner travelling as part of the group. With advances in technology, is it really necessary for these potential investors to physically come to the Island.
Could they not conduct a virtual visit instead?
The delegates want to experience first-hand what St Helena has to offer and to speak and engage with businesses and people here. This cannot be fully achieved with a virtual visit.
SHG 2 February 2022