Falklands had a most busy week in London with ministerial meetings, contacts, speeches, addressing an agenda full of issues in different fields most of them of interest for the Islands and shared with colleagues from the Association of Overseas Territories.
The Falklands delegation to the Joint Ministerial Council, JMC, was headed by recently reelected lawmaker MLA Teslyn Barkman, Falkland Islands Government Representative in London Richard Hyslop, Deputy Representative FIGO London, Michael Betts and Junior ambassador Nikki Wilks.
It was the first face to face JMC since 2018 as the 2019 meeting date coincided with the UK General Election and last year’s was held virtually, due to the Covid pandemic.
JMC took off on November 15 at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, with a round of speeches and exchanges with different ministers including Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Wendy Morton, minister for the Americas and Overseas Territories.
Meetings were focused on prevalent concerns throughout the Territories such as Environment Protection and Ocean preservation, Climate Change adaptation, Border Protection, National Security and Law Enforcement, Economic diversification and Resilience, Strengthening UK-OT relationships, Health, Inclusivity.
Of the fourteen OTs, a few participated via video link given the travel and distance difficulties, for example Pitcairn Islands.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson provided a virtual address at the commencement of proceedings which was followed by a detailed discussion on the environment, climate change and biodiversity in the Overseas Territories, chaired by Rt Hon. Lord Goldsmith, Minister of State for the Environment.
Minister Wendy Morton and Minister Amanda Milling chaired discussions centered around the future relationship between the Overseas Territories and the UK, as well as the economic resilience of the Overseas Territories in a post-Brexit and post-pandemic climate.
Minister for Security and Borders Damian Hinds also participated as did Maritime minister Robert Courts. and Health minister Edward Agar as did Helen Whately from the Exchequer secretary for the Treasury.
It must also be mentioned that MLA Barkman on Remembrance Sunday laid a wreath at the Cenotaph on behalf of the people and government of the Falklands. She was later invited to a SAMA82 meeting at the Union Jack Club.