#London, England – Monday June 18, 2018 – Days ahead of presenting to the nation the Budget Communication, the Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands was engaged in high level talks in London which included other British territories within the region and the Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the United Nations, Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon.
The UK-OT Joint Ministerial Council on EU Negotiations was held at Lancaster House, last Thursday (June 14) and the session included an update on the Exit Negotiations; necessary after British citizens in June 2016 voted for their country to leave the European Union.
The exit also impacts the Overseas Territories of the United Kingdom.
Top of the agenda for the gathering though was not the exit strategy of UK from the EU; it was disaster management.
Director of the Office of the Premier, Ronlee James said in an overview of the London meetings that, “The Premier arrived in London and immediately joined a meeting with colleagues from the fellow British overseas Territories from the Caribbean and Bermuda. The meeting chaired by Premier of the Cayman Islands, Hon. Alden McLaughlin, focused on the recovery efforts of the BOTs affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.”
The nations gathered were also expressive about a new law being forced upon OTs; related to the business and financial services sectors.
“They also discussed the repercussions of the money laundering and Sanctions Act which will impose public registers of beneficial ownership of companies on the BOTs” said James in a message to media.
Mr. James said though not an official release, he could say that the Premier and other leaders particularly enjoyed the evening session at the House of Commons which was about more than a good meal.
Media in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda are reporting strong focus upon the response of the UK in the event of another catastrophic hurricane season.
From Bermuda, Premier David Burt was among the OT leaders who asked the British Government to ‘fulfill its obligations’ to its territories in the region. Of particular concern was the two week wait for the arrival of the Royal Navy’s HMS Ocean and the sluggish pace of regional reconstruction.
It was said that Premier Burt, as president of the UK Overseas Territories Association, said he welcomed a British commitment to provide immediate resources in the event of a disaster.
Recently, Foreign Secretary in the UK, Boris Johnson announced the release of £15million or just over $19.8 million for Caribbean reconstruction; at least $1.32m is earmarked for British Virgin Islands’ homeowners who lost everything in the hurricane and were uninsured.
Premier Sharlene Robinson also had bi-lateral talks with Lord Ahmad, discussing pertinent issues specific to the Turks and Caicos Islands including: Constitutional adjustments, Border Control, Child Safeguarding, Disaster Preparedness and recovery, the prison and the 2018-2019 Budget, including the Fiscal Strategic Policy Statement (FSPS).
Turks and Caicos Parliament re-opens today for the Budget Presentation. It will be a ceremonial opening of the First (1st ) Sitting of the First Meeting of the Second Session of the Eleventh (11th ) Legislature of the House of Assembly after the House was prorogued by the Premier back in April.