Politics of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha

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This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha

The politics of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha operate under the jurisdiction of the government of the United Kingdom.[1] The three parts of the territory—Saint Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha—effectively form an asymmetric federacy and collectively constitute one of United Kingdom's fourteen overseas territories.

Structure of government[edit]

Because of the islands' status as a overseas territory of the United Kingdom, they are currently ruled over by Elizabeth II and her government in the United Kingdom, with the Governor of Saint Helena serving as the monarch's representative to the territory as well as the territory's executive. This position is currently held by Lisa Phillips, who took office in 2016. Island Administrators serve as the representatives of the Governor on Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, which are distant from Saint Helena island, and are permanently resident on those islands. These roles are presently filled by Colin Wells and Sean Burns respectively. The territory's Governor and Attorney General reside at Jamestown on Saint Helena.

Part Crown representative Council
Saint Helena Governor of Saint Helena Legislative Council of Saint Helena
Ascension Island Administrator of Ascension Island Ascension Island Council
Tristan da Cunha Administrator of Tristan da Cunha Tristan da Cunha Island Council

Formation and Constitution, 1922–present[edit]

In September 1922, Ascension Island became a dependency of Saint Helena, followed by Tristan da Cunha in January 1938. The three islands were held under this flagship as "Saint Helena and Dependencies" until they were collectively changed to equal status in 2009, becoming Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.

A new constitution, the St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Constitution Order 2009,[2] replaced a previous constitution drafted in 1988, providing a Bill of Rights for citizens and details outlining balanced provisions for the islands.[3] It confirmed the allegiance of the three islands to the United Kingdom, its Government and the Crown and that the islands now formed a single, territorial grouping. The constitution also placed restrictions on the governor's power, forming more of a union between the Governor and the two Resident Administrators.[4]

Attorney General of Saint Helena[edit]

The post of the Attorney General of Saint Helena was created around 1978. Beforehand, the "Legal Advisers Office, as it was called at this time, was to provide legal advice to the St. Helena Government and the Judiciary and legal support to the Land Adjudication exercise."[5]

Attorney General of Saint Helena (Incomplete Table)
Name Year(s) of Service)
Alan Hoole[6] c. 1978-1983
David J. Jeremiah[7][8] c. 1991-1997
Kurt De Freitas[9] c. 1997-2004
Ken Baddon[10][11][12][13] c. 2005-2013
Frank Wastell c. 2013-2014
Nicola Moore[14] c. 2014-2016
Angelo Berbotto[15] c. 2016-2018
Sara O'Donnell[16] c. 2018-

Antony Rushford is identified as having been the Attorney General of Saint Helena. However, his years of service are unknown. Rushford had also served as the Attorney General of Anguilla and Attorney General of Grenada.[17]


Each of the islands offers radio stations and local newspapers. While there are no locally operated TV stations anywhere in the territory, overseas programming is broadcast via satellite in St. Helena. Cable and Wireless Communications, based in the UK, operates its telecommunications infrastructure.[18]

The BBC Atlantic Relay Station transmits radio programs to Ascension Island but television service is limited to the British Forces Broadcasting Service. A radio station operated by the US Air Force, "Volcano Radio", also carries locally produced programming.[19]

On Tristan da Cunha, Atlantic FM carries local broadcasts. BFBS TV is also available. The island's first internet cafe opened in 2006.[20]


The territory has four courts of its own:

The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, in London, is the final court of appeal for the territory however, as is the case with all other British overseas territories.

Legal Profession / Public Solicitor[edit]

Although there are no private practice lawyers on Saint Helena, there is a Public Solicitor (the office was established on January 2, 1998) that is supported by legally-trained lay advocates.[21][22][23] They provide legal advice and assistance to residents, as well as offer court representation whenever appropriate. Depending on the severity of the case, a lawyer from the United Kingdom might be sent for to represent a defendant.[24]

Public Solicitor of St. Helena (Complete Table)
Name Year(s) of Service
Jonathan Hardiker[25] c. 1998-2001
Colin Forbes[26][25] c. 2001-2006
Jane Hamilton-White[25] (1st female) c. 2006-2008
Neil Davidson[27][28][29] c. 2008-2011
Debbie Wahle[30][31][32] c. 2011-2015
Nicholas Aldridge[33][34] c. 2015-2017
Sara O'Donnell[16] c. 2017
Helen Scott[35] c. 2018-


  1. ^ "Profile on Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha" CIA - The World Factbook
  2. ^ http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2009/1751/contents/made
  3. ^ "Enhanced status and a Bill of Rights in Tristan's new constitution" Tristan da Cunha website
  4. ^ "New Constitution for Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan de Cunha" The Tristan Times, 2009
  5. ^ "THE LEGAL, LANDS AND PLANNING DEPARTMENT (Archived Page)". The Saint Helena Government Website. 2005. Archived from the original on 2001-03-07.
  6. ^ "Saint Helena Island Info: All about St Helena, in the South Atlantic Ocean • The Governor of St Helena". sainthelenaisland.info. Retrieved 2018-03-23.
  7. ^ Whitaker, Joseph (1991-12-01). Whitaker's Almanac 1992 124. J. Whitaker. ISBN 9780850212204.
  8. ^ Council, Saint Helena Legislative (1993). Proceedings of the Legislative Council. U.S. Government Printing Office.
  9. ^ "Attorney General to take post in Cayman Islands". Saint Helena Herald. January 28, 2004.
  10. ^ Grundy, Richard. "Tristan da Cunha Government News 2006 to 2008". www.tristandc.com. Retrieved 2018-03-23.
  11. ^ "Ascension : APPOINTMENT OF ACTING GOVERNOR". August 26, 2011.
  12. ^ "Legislation of St Helena, Ascension & Tristan da Cunha". St Helena. 2013-02-02. Retrieved 2018-03-23.
  13. ^ "ATTORNEY GENERAL KEN BADDON". St Helena. 2013-08-06. Retrieved 2018-03-23.
  14. ^ "RECEPTION WELCOMES NEW ATTORNEY GENERAL". St Helena. 2014-12-01. Retrieved 2018-03-23.
  15. ^ "FAREWELL TO ATTORNEY GENERAL ANGELO BERBOTTO". St Helena. 2018-01-26. Retrieved 2018-03-23.
  16. ^ a b "NEW ATTORNEY GENERAL (DESIGNATE) APPOINTED". St Helena. 2017-12-04. Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  17. ^ "Antony Rushford CMG". Old Tauntonians (Taunton School).
  18. ^ "St Helena" Archived 2010-10-30 at the Wayback Machine. Cable and Wireless Communications
  19. ^ United Kingdom - Ascension Island" Commonwealth Secretariat
  20. ^ "Communications on Tristan" Archived 2011-07-20 at the Wayback Machine. Saint FM
  21. ^ "Solicitor's Office / I The Office At A Glance (Archived page)". The Saint Helena Government Website. 2006. Archived from the original on 2002-01-29.
  23. ^ The Commonwealth Yearbook. H.M. Stationery Office. 1999.
  24. ^ Steiner, Sue; Liston, Robin; Grundy, Richard (2007). St Helena: Ascension, Tristan Da Cunha. Bradt Travel Guides. ISBN 9781841621982.
  26. ^ "Sun, sand, sea and a solicitor for St Helena". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  27. ^ "Ascension : Ask A Lawyer". The Ascension Island Newspaper. April 12, 2008.
  28. ^ "St Helena : New Public Solicitor on St Helena". St. Helena Herald. April 16, 2011.
  29. ^ Brock, Juanita (June 30, 2008). "Tristan: H.E. THE GOVERNOR MR ANDREW GURR REPORTS ON HIS MAY-JUNE VISIT TO THE UK AND ELSEWHERE". Tristan Times.
  30. ^ "Saint Helena Island Info: All about St Helena, in the South Atlantic Ocean • Important Information". sainthelenaisland.info. 2010. Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  31. ^ "NEW LAY ADVOCATES FOR ST HELENA". St Helena. 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  32. ^ Graham, August (May 22, 2015). "The Future's Bright Public Solicitor Leave on Upbeat Note After Four Years on Island" (PDF). The Sentinel. 4:9: 21.
  33. ^ Graham, August (October 8, 2015). "Public Solicitors arelike Public Busses...You Wait Ages for One and Then Two Come Along at Once!" (PDF). The Sentinel. 4:29: 7.
  34. ^ "NEW CHIEF MAGISTRATE APPOINTED". St Helena. 2017-04-19. Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  35. ^ "NEW ADDITION TO THE ST HELENA PUBLIC SOLICITOR'S OFFICE". The Islander. October 18, 2012.