Lord Tariq Ahmad, Minister for the Commonwealth, the UN and South Asia and Christopher Pincher, Minister for Europe and the Americas
#TCI Office of the Governor – January 29, 2020 — “As the United Kingdom Government’s Ministers of State responsible for our Overseas Territories (OTs), a priority for us, and for the entire Government, has been to work closely with Territory leaders to identify the opportunities and concerns in each OT associated with Brexit.
You will be aware of the recent General Election in the United Kingdom, the resulting new dynamics in the United Kingdom’s Parliament and the decisive action of the Prime Minister to press ahead with Brexit. The United Kingdom is set to leave the EU on 31 January with a deal – the Prime Minister’s newly negotiated Withdrawal Agreement. The Withdrawal Agreement provides for an implementation period lasting until 31 December 2020, a time-limited period of transition before Brexit-related changes take place. We want to take this opportunity to set out what this means for people and businesses in the OTs.
To summarise – during the implementation period, your rights and those of your family members will not change, and neither will the relationship OT companies and NGOs have with the EU.
Many of you may be thinking about how Brexit could affect your ability to travel or live abroad. Firstly, we would like to make clear that eligibility criteria for British passports of all types will not be affected by our departure from the EU. Secondly, the rules on travelling to the EU will remain the same throughout the implementation period.This means British Citizen passport holders will be able to continue to live, work and study in the EU as they do now. The rights of British Overseas Territory Citizen (BOTC) passport holders – including 90-day visa-free access to the Schengen area in any 180 days – will also not change, either during the implementation period or afterwards.
We fully understand the importance of EU funding for a number of organisations in the Territories. That is why the United Kingdom Government had agreed to cover EU-funded projects in the OTs under EDF, BEST, Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ if the EU were to cease payments. As part of the Prime Minister’s deal, there is no longer any risk of this: projects in the OTs under these funding streams will continue to be covered by the EU for their duration.
Businesses in the OTs exporting goods to the EU27 will continue to be able to export tariff and quota-free for the duration of the implementation period. Tariff and quota-free access to the United Kingdom market for OT goods will continue indefinitely. While post-2020 access to the EU27 market is a matter for the upcoming negotiations on the Future Partnership, the United Kingdom Government is absolutely committed to seeking the best possible access for OT goods as part of our future relationship with the EU. During these negotiations the United Kingdom Government will also work to ensure that any post-2020 mobility arrangements agreed with the EU consider the specific needs and requirements of the OTs.
We want to both assure you and to leave you in no doubt that the United Kingdom is absolutely committed to the safety and prosperity of each of our British OTs. Brexit is no exception to this. As we head into the next phase of the negotiations and take up the opportunities afforded by our departure from the EU, including the ability to negotiate our own trade agreements around the world, the continuing priority for the United Kingdom Government is to ensure that the voices of our OTs are heard. And that your priorities inform our approach to the negotiations every step of the way.
The Governor, His Excellency Nigel Dakin, added: “The Governor and Premier’s Office have been in close touch with the UK Government, and in particular Lord Ahmad, over the last year ensuring TCI’s voice has been heard. While this statement should reassure citizens about the impact of Brexit, the more interesting opportunity is how the United Kingdom now refocuses her attention towards a more global outlook. I anticipate far greater positive engagement with the Caribbean in general, and the Overseas Territories in particular, from 2020 onwards. As a result, I look forward to a visit by Lord Ahmad in the near future. His programme will be designed to ensure he meets, as well as the Premier and Leader of the Opposition, those involved in national security, serious crime and criminal justice as well as seeing the recovery the Islands have experienced since his last post-hurricane visit.”
Cruising should slow down says PAHO
By Dana Malcolm
‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.
“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”
Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.
Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.
A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.
Shocking changes in UK COVID strategy as demands intensify for PM Johnson’s resignation
By Dana Malcolm
#UnitedKingdom, January 20, 2022 – In a shocking twist Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that come Thursday January 20, the United Kingdom will no longer mandate the National Health Services pass for use in public spaces and offices.
Residents will no longer be mandated to work from home which could see hundreds of thousands of workers returning to shared office spaces. Face masks will no longer be government mandated for residents or in classrooms, the announcement was met with screams of joy from gathered politicians in the House of Commons.
Meanwhile omicron still manages to evade vaccines and boosters and Pfizer is scrambling to create a vaccine to temper the variant, which reportedly presents as milder in vaccinated individuals.
The news comes as trouble is brewing in the United Kingdom for Prime Minister Boris Johnson even after his shock announcement ending several COVID-19 protocols early this week. Calls for the Prime Minister to leave office have grown louder and louder with even senior conservatives turning their backs on Johnson.
It was said the softening of restrictions were to distract from the Prime Minister ‘bring your own booze’ staff party held at #10 Downing Street during the lockdown of 2020.
One Senator publicly switched sides and a former Minister told Johnson “in the name of God go.”
Johnson is accused of flagrantly touting the rules he himself out into place while fellow Britons were suffering during lockdown.
The BBC reports that so far six Conservative MPs have publicly declared no confidence in the PM, but more are thought to have submitted letters to that effect.
If Johnson does not step down or regain his party’s faith, a leadership election in the Conservative party could be looming on the horizon.
Jamaica to be ‘fire on ice’ at upcoming Winter Olympics, Bobsled is back
By Deandrea Hamilton
“It will be fire on ice as TeamJamaica secured their spot at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. This will be the 1st time JAM has qualified in 3 Olympic bobsled events: four-man, two-man and women’s monobob,” tweeted TeamJamaica on Monday morning.
News reports are buzzing over the return of the electrifying TeamJamaica; unique to participate in winter sports with the obvious reason being, Jamaica never sees snow as it is a sizzling hot Caribbean destination.
For at least one team member, who showed off his qualification as part of TeamJamaica on social media, it is a dream come true.
“A childhood dream has come a reality. I gave up on this dream a few years back although I knew the elite athlete in me hasn’t died yet and had unfinished business. Blood, sweat and tears went into this and it has paid off! Best day of my sporting career! I was honoured to selected to compete in 13 out of the 16 races this season and gave it all I had.
I will have to say a special thanks to sooo many people, I’ll soon be direct messaging you, but especially my Mum, Dad and Sister… for helping with organising my speed work over the years and continuously checking up on me for letting me use the athletics track, the @jbsfed staff, team sponsors, all my clients from my sports injury clinic business “Anatomy Well-being” and to everyone who have sent me positive messages and showed support you don’t understand how much that helped,” said Ashley Walton.
Jamaica will also have a countryman in a ski event; British-born Benjamin Alexander.
The Winter Olympics begins on February 3; an opening ceremony will take place at the famous Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing, China. The games will span two weeks.
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