This week Penguin News gave up its editorial space to allow for the publication of a last-minute Op-ed from Wendy Morton MP, Minister responsible for the Falkland Islands in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, on the Joint Ministerial Council 2020
The Overseas Territories are a much-cherished part of the British family. The Falkland Islands are no exception. This is why, as the Minister responsible for the Falkland Islands in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office; I am honored to have participated in the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC).
The JMC is an opportunity for elected members from across the Overseas Territories to come together, including Hon. Teslyn Barkman MLA, representing the Falkland Islands.
This year, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson joined the council, to show the importance he puts on our relationship with the Overseas Territories.
At the JMC, we celebrate the special partnership between the UK and the Overseas Territories. It is an opportunity to set out the shared priorities and to have a dialogue on a number of diverse topics.
Over the years, we have forged modern partnerships, based on shared interests and values. A notable recent UK-funded program is the demining completed in the Falklands, meaning there are now no anti-personnel land mines anywhere on British soil. The UK Government remains committed to these partnerships, and to working with you and your government so that your community flourishes as a modern, prosperous and strong democracy.
The UK Government takes its responsibilities towards the Overseas Territories extremely seriously. Whether that means defending you from threats, providing aid for essential services, helping you preserve your natural environment, or supporting you in times of crisis - as we have with COVID-19.
Right now we face huge global challenges, but we face them together.
This year, Coronavirus has impacted us all, especially where tourism is a key economic pillar and in communities which are already geographically isolated. I would like to congratulate your government and the people of the Falkland Islands on your handling of the pandemic so far you have seen some of the lowest infection rates in the world.
In addition to your pre-existing local capacity, I am proud that the UK has stood by you in providing a huge amount of support to your healthcare system, such as supplying additional PPE, ventilators and logistical support from 16 Medical Regiment.
The knock-on challenges to your economy are not to be underestimated, and I welcomed the opportunity to discuss how we can move forward on these issues together, with MLA Barkman, at the JMC.
This is why the JMC has come at such an important time in our partnership. Now more than ever, we have important issues to discuss as we ensure that we work together in the best interests of the people of all the Overseas Territories, including the Falkland Islands.