UK Minister gets down to business

| 29/10/2008

(CNS): Foreign Office Minister, Gillian Merron welcomed delegates to the Overseas Territories Consultative Council (OTCC) in London this week for what she described as a critical part of debate and decision-making between the UK and the Overseas Territories. Along with the other OTs the Cayman Islands has sent a delegation led by the Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts.

The OTCC, held each year in London, is a key annual event in the British Government/Overseas Territories calendar, providing a forum for the elected leaders  of Britain’s OTs and their representatives to discuss high-level policy with a team of British Government Ministers.

"I’m glad to be welcoming so many  elected leaders from the Overseas Territories  and senior ministers to the OTCC this year,” said Merron, the new Minister with responsibility for OTs, in a FCO statement. “The forum is a critical part of debate and decision-making between the UK and the Overseas Territories. We’ve got a great deal to discuss – from financial services to  human rights – I’m looking forward to getting down to the business of ensuring continuing close relations and the security and prosperity of the OTs."

Discussions are expected to cover a range of current issues including economic issues and the current global crisis; financial services regulation; human rights; prospects for the relationship between the EU and the Overseas Territories; the environment and disaster  management. Proceedings will include the signing of a new Tax Information Exchange Arrangement between the UK and the British Virgin Islands.

Attending for the Overseas Territories is Osbourne Fleming, Chief Minister, Anguilla; Ewart F Brown, Premier of Bermuda; Ralph O’Neal, Premier, the British Virgin Islands; Kurt Tibbetts, Leader of Government Business, the Cayman Islands; Michael Summers, Executive Councillor, the Falkland Islands; Lowell Lewis, Chief Minister, Montserrat; Leslie Jaques, Commissioner, Pitcairn Islands; William Drabble, Councillor, St Helena; Michael Misick, Premier,  the Turks and Caicos Islands; and Conrad Glass, Chief Islander, Tristan da Cunha.

The British Government team will be  led by Gillian Merron, who will be joined by Michael Foster MP, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for International Development;  the Stephen Timms MP, the Financial Secretary to HM Treasury; Gareth Thomas MP,  Minister  of State at the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform; and Huw Irranca-Davies MP, the Minister for the Natural and Marine Environment, Wildlife and Rural Affairs at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

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