The commitment of the governments of the Overseas Territories and the UK to continue to work together in partnership was underlined by Foreign Office minister Mark Simmonds MP when he updated Parliament on the outcome of this year’s Joint Ministerial Council, which was attended by leaders from eleven OTs including the Falkland Islands.
I chaired the second meeting of the Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council in London on 26 November. The Council was attended by political leaders and representatives from Anguilla; Ascension Island; Bermuda; the British Virgin Islands; the Cayman Islands; the Falkland Islands; Gibraltar; Montserrat; Pitcairn; St Helena; and the Turks and Caicos Islands, said minister Simmonds.
The Council focused this year on measures to increase economic growth and create jobs in the Territories and the plenary day included sessions on economic diversification and promoting investment; employment and vocational education; the relationship with the EU; renewable energy; and international financial services regulation.
Simmonds said the Council agreed a communiqué which identified priorities and set out a clear action plan for joint work. A copy of this communiqué has been deposited in the Library of the House. The communiqué reflects the commitment of the governments of the Overseas Territories and the UK to continue to work together in partnership to achieve the vision set out in the June 2012 White Paper The Overseas Territories: Security Success and Sustainability.
Later in the week there were meetings with Territory delegations and Government departments on health, the environment, passports, visas, immigration and asylum, and criminal justice, plus the organization of a major Investment Forum for the Territories which was attended by well over 100 UK companies.
In line with our commitment in the White Paper we will continue to report to Parliament on progress in implementing the commitments in the communiqué by Territory governments and UK Departments. We have also deposited in the Library of the House a report on progress made in meeting the commitments in the communiqué from the Joint Ministerial Council in 2012, concluded minister Simmonds.