Premier Romeo Holds Discussions With OT and UK Ministers at Pre-JMC Meetings In London

Premier, the Honourable Donaldson Romeo, joined with other United Kingdom (UK) Overseas Territories heads of delegations in a series of meetings during his visit to London last week.

Premier Romeo Holds Discussions With OT and UK Ministers at Pre-JMC Meetings In London

Pre-JMC photo of Premier Romeo and other Heads. Photo Credit: Adam Howe Photography

Thursday, June 21, 2018 Brades- Premier, the Honourable Donaldson Romeo, joined with other United Kingdom (UK) Overseas Territories heads of delegations in a series of meetings during his visit to London last week.

On June 12th, Premier Romeo met with other Caribbean Overseas Territories’ Leaders and the London Representative from Bermuda for a Pre-Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) ‘Caribbean and Bermuda Territories Heads of Government’ meeting which was chaired by the Premier of the Cayman Islands, the Honourble Alden McLaughlin. At this meeting the Chief Minister of Anguilla, the Honourable Victor Banks, Deputy Premier of the British Virgin Islands, the Honourable Dr. Kedrick Pickering and Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Honourable, Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson each provided an update on their Territories’ recovery following the devastating effects of Hurricanes Irma and Maria on their respective islands.

The Hon. Premier of Montserrat spoke of the need to build resilience in each of the Caribbean Territories and Bermuda, pointing out that although Montserrat did not endure the force of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the island nevertheless sustained damage.

The meeting also provided a platform for the leaders to provide updates on their Territories’ mitigation and response capabilities for the 2018 hurricane season.

On the following day, June 13th, the United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA) hosted the Pre-JMC Meeting at Church House, Westminster, which was chaired by Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) from the Falkland Islands, the Honourable Teslyn Barkman.

The UKOTA Pre-Joint Ministerial Council meeting provided the Overseas Territories heads of delegation from Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, St. Helena and the Turks and Caicos Islands, the opportunity to find common ground on matters relating to the recent Sanctions and Money Laundering Bill and its subsequent assent on May 23rd 2018. Immigration, the environment and climate change, disaster preparedness and matters relating to the UK exiting the EU were also key aspects of the discussions. The leaders also agreed the topics they would like to have included in the agenda for the annual OT-UK Joint Ministerial Council to be held in November 2018.

The Honourble Premier’s meetings in London concluded on Thursday, June 14th with the United Kingdom-Overseas Territories (UK-OT) Joint Ministerial Council on EU-Negotiations (JMC OT-EN) hosted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and chaired by FCO Minister for the Overseas Territories, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon.

Lord Ahmad chaired the JMC OT-EN and was joined at various times during the day by other ministerial colleagues, Robin Walker MP, from the Department for Exiting the European Union; Minister of State at the Department for International Trade, the Rt. Hon. Greg Hands MP; Minister of State at the Department for International Development, the Rt. Hon. Lord Bates and Minister of State (Universities and Science) at the Department for Education, Samuel Gyimah MP.

The Overseas Territories’ delegates were warmly welcomed by Lord Ahmad who invited the heads of the territories’ delegations affected by the September hurricanes to provide an update on their recovery and with support from officials provided information on the UK’s response in respect of logistical and financial support. Premier Romeo stated that the devastation the other Islands suffered highlighted the urgency for the UK and Montserrat to work together to address Montserrat’s resiliency. He said, had Montserrat been hit the island would probably be even worse off in the aftermath.

The Hon. Donaldson Romeo also took the opportunity to have bilateral meetings with Lord Ahmad and with the Minister of State at the Department for International Development, the Rt. Hon. Lord Bates. Montserrat’s Financial Secretary, Honourable Colin Owen, and the UK Representative for the Government of Montserrat, Janice Panton MBE also attended the meetings

Other sessions covered during the day included the constitutional relationship between the UK and its Territories, updates on progress of the UK’s negotiations with the EU in respect of international trade, development assistance, citizens’ rights and border arrangements. Additionally, officials made presentations on environment and climate change. During the discussions, Minster Samuel Gyimah MP announced the eligibility of Overseas Territories Students to apprenticeship programmes in UK educational institutions.

On the issue of the constitutional relationship between the UK and its Territories, there was unanimous agreement that the recent action by the UK Parliament to impose legislation on the OTs was undemocratic, a step backwards and a clear contradiction to UK policy statements and commitments to the OTs and the UN.