On Saturday 11 May 2019, Dr Philip Rushbrook arrived to take up his role as the Territory’s 69th Governor and the first to arrive by air.
Dr Rushbrook, accompanied by his wife, Mrs Rushbrook, was sworn in just after 4pm, on the Supreme Court Terrace in Jamestown. The Chief Secretary, Mrs Susan O’Bey, read the Royal Commission and the Sheriff of St Helena, Mrs Ethel Yon OBE, administered the Oaths of Office and gave the Address of Welcome.
The traditional ceremony included music from the Combined Brass Band and an inspection by His Excellency of delegations from the St Helena Police Force, schoolchildren, Customs Officers, Nurses, Scouts, Cubs and Beavers, Girl Guides, Brownies and Rainbows, Pathfinders, Religious Organisations and the Fire and Sea Rescue Services. The Rt. Revd. The Lord Bishop of St Helena, Dale Bowers MBE, gave a prayer and a blessing, followed by His Excellency receiving the salute.
In his Inauguration Address, His Excellency commented:
“I am deeply privileged and excited to become the Governor of St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha – three unique and precious British territories in the South Atlantic. It is an honour to serve Her Majesty and to serve you. St Helena is the new home for my wife, Janis, and I and we look forward to being active members of the community on this jewel of an island.”
Reflecting on his work preparing to take up the office of Governor, including meetings with Islanders, His Excellency acknowledged the “universal desire to see the territories develop socially and economically” and the Islanders’ “powerful sense of mission to build partnerships and improve the opportunities for their islands to become more prosperous and contented places in which to live and work”.
For St Helena, His Excellency endorsed the Economic Development Investment Programme funded by the UK and promised “achieving better connections to the outside world through wider air access and delivering the internet potential of a marine cable” would be matters receiving his constant attention; for Ascension Island to support “the runway work started and […] make this period of uncertainty as short as possible” and, for Tristan da Cunha to “protect its pristine status whilst maintaining its ability to diversify the economy and increase income from sustainable fishing”.
His Excellency then proceeded to The Castle where he was introduced to dignitaries and members of the public followed by light refreshments.