Today, at the AGM of UK Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA), the Falkland Islands were elected to the Presidency of UKOTA, replacing the Turks and Caicos Islands who held the Presidency for the last year.
For 2023 the UKOTA will be chaired by the Falkland Islands Government Representative to the UK and Europe, Richard Hyslop. In accordance with the Association’s constitution an elected member of the Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly assumes the Presidency of the Political Council of UKOTA, and The Honourable MLA, Teslyn Barkman will fulfil this role. As Chair of UKOTA, Mr Hyslop will lead the work of the Association, advancing and defending the collective interests of the Overseas Territories in the UK over the forthcoming year. For the Falklands specifically, this also and builds upon the busy and successful Falklands 40th anniversary year in 2022, and the 10-year anniversary of a decisive referendum to remain a proud member of the UK Overseas Territory family in 2023.
Commenting on the Chairmanship Mr Hyslop said, ‘It is an honour to be elected as Chair of UKOTA and I am grateful for the confidence of the other Overseas Territory Representatives and support of the Falkland Islands Government. I look forward to working with my colleagues to further promote the relationship between the Overseas Territories and the UK and to engaging with all stakeholders to advance the work of the Association. I would like to put on record my thanks to Tracy Knight, the UK Representative from the Turks and Caicos Islands who chaired UKOTA brilliantly over the last year.’
As President of the Political Council, MLA Teslyn Barkman will have responsibility for chairing the council’s annual meeting of political leaders in London later this year ahead of the annual Joint Ministerial Council between the Overseas Territories and the UK Government. MLA Barkman said; ‘Throughout my political career I've been fortunate to learn more about my fellow UK Overseas Territories and to champion my home and the wider UK Overseas Territory family at Joint Ministerial Councils. As President I look forward to continuing to work with UK Overseas Territories politicians and representatives and to raise the profile of the UK OT family as a spokesperson for our collective voice.'
Other posts elected at the AGM include Mrs Janice Panton MBE, UK Representative for Montserrat, was elected Honorary Secretary and Chris Carnegy, UK Representative for the Government of Tristan da Cunha, was elected to the role of Hon. Treasurer.
The UK Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA) represents the governments and peoples of the UK Overseas Territories are represented in the UK by their official Representatives and, in most cases, through their London offices. When interests align, the UK Overseas Territories may speak with one united voice through the UKOTA. In addition to being the voice of their individual Territory governments in the UK, the Representatives and London office staff also look after the interests of their people when they are in the UK. This includes temporary residents such as students, medical patients or tourists, as well as people from the Territory who have moved permanently to the UK.
Ref: UK Overseas Territories Association
- Only individuals or organisations duly appointed by Territory governments are entitled or permitted to speak on behalf of the UK Overseas Territories, either individually or collectively. Only they can represent the Territories at events or in meetings with politicians or the media.
- The Representatives are the main point of contact for politicians throughout the UK, including the Westminster Government. Representatives also represent their Territories at major national events in the UK such as the Commonwealth Day service and the State Opening of Parliament.