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St Helena

Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he has taken in response to the petition on securing democratic government in St Helena presented to the acting Governor of St Helena on 19 April. [126860]

The petition, which was received in the FCO on 19 May, called for better governance on St. Helena and a more positive attitude towards inward investment. The petition was carefully considered by FCO Ministers, following which an FCO official wrote to a representative of the petitioners re-affirming the government's desire to work in partnership with the people of St Helena to help ensure a secure and successful future for the island, as outlined in the 1999 Overseas Territories White Paper. The letter made clear that an important aspect of this would be consideration of proposals for air access to the island.We recognise the importance of St Helena's continuing economic and political development. An FCO team visited St Helena in April/May to take forward discussions on the constitutional review. We will continue to engage with elected members in St. Helena with the aim of reaching agreement on the key principles necessary for the drafting of a new constitution.