The UK Overseas Territories heads of Government recently concluded a two-day meeting in Bermuda which serves as precursor for the Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council meeting to be hosted by the UK Government in London later this year.
Leaders attending the meeting included Deputy Premier of Montserrat Delmaude Ryan, Premier of the British Virgin Islands Dr. Orlando Smith, Premier of Cayman Islands Alden McLaughlin, Premier of Turks & Caicos Dr. Rufus Ewing, Member of the Legislative Assembly of the Falkland Islands Roger Anthony Edwards, representatives from Anguilla and Gibraltar; while Ascension Island, Tristan Da Cunha, St Helena and Pitcairn were represented remotely.
The statement said, “We, the elected Leaders and or Representatives of the Overseas Territories, met on 23rd – 24th July 2015, to discuss issues of mutual interest and the forthcoming Joint Ministerial Council Meeting [JMC], with UK Ministers to be held in December 2015 in London.
“The purpose of the Joint Ministerial Council is to implement the principles espoused in the 2012 White Paper on Security, Success and Sustainability and to agree at the ministerial level on collective issues between Overseas Territories Governments and the UK Government.
“At the Leaders’ meeting held this week in the Bermuda, we discussed measures to secure our long-term economic futures:
- Economic Diversification and Development – To build sustainable economies as stable banking sectors that are more resilient and capitalize on changing global trends. To seek innovative solutions, in partnership with the UK, to develop robust and effective infrastructure across all of the Overseas Territories.
- Building Communities and Strengthening Families – To develop innovative health care and social services in the territories, including mental health services and the creation Overseas Territories Sports council.
- Good Governance & International Affairs – To continue to uphold the principles of Good Governance in the administration of our respective territories and recognize the right of all people of the Overseas Territories to self-determination. To reiterate the UK’s constitutional responsibility for defending Overseas Territories in international forums amongst key stakeholders where the Territories have committed to meeting international standards.
- Global Standards of Financial Regulation Accountability and Transparency – We continuing the fight against financial crime and continue to be responsible international financial centres that facilitate global trade and investment in line with the emerging global consensus.
- Environmental Sustainability – As vulnerable small territories whose economies are dependent on environmental sustainability, and at greatest risk of climate change, we will continue our long history of caring for and nurturing our environments.
“We reaffirm our commitment and respect for the principles outlined in our Constitutions and will uphold our obligations to our electorate and the people we serve,” the statement concluded.