A reception was held on the evening of November 4, in the Palace of Westminster to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the founding of the United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA), as reported by the Gibraltar Chronicle.
The Association was formed on the initiative of the Falkland Islands and Gibraltar Government, with strong support from the Cayman Islands Government.
From its inception, the group dedicated itself to bringing to the attention of the public and the establishment the existence of, and Britain’s responsibility towards, it’s Overseas Territories. In their work, UKOTA were able to bring to the fore significant information and focus on the Overseas Territories, which led to the first White Paper on the Territories.
It was this paper that acknowledged that the Overseas Territories were no longer economically dependent on the UK and therefore for them to be referred to as +‘Dependent Territories of the United Kingdom’ was not appropriate.
Their name was thus changed to United Kingdom Overseas Territories.
The Association has also achieved much needed recognition for the Territories’ Representatives in the UK and, through close work with the Foreign Office in London, has worked to establish the now annual Joint Ministerial Council.
Albert Poggio, current Chair of UKOTA, in his welcome address to Tuesday’s Reception, acknowledged the good work achieved by the Association so far, but emphasized that there is still a long way to go in establishing a modern relationship between London and the Overseas Territories.
“In this uncertain economic climate, particularly for Overseas Territories which depend hugely on Financial Services, it is important that the Territories demonstrate a united front. This is best done through UKOTA and its Political Council,” said Mr Poggio.