Leaders begin talks with FCO as JMC opens

| 26/11/2013

(CNS): Sticky issues such as public finances, pressure on the financial services sector, unemployment and future growth will be just some of the issues that the leaders of the overseas territories will be discussing with British officials during the Joint Ministerial Council over the next two days. The JMC is the forum where the UK reviews its strategy for promoting the security and good governance of its territories with their national leaders. This year the focus will be on economic growth and diversification, attracting investment, employment, international financial services regulation, and the relationship between the territories and the European Union. The Council will review progress made on the commitments from the 2012 Council and discuss and agree future priorities.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office minister for the territories, Mark Simmonds, said he was delighted to welcome the leaders to the second Joint Ministerial Council.

”We have achieved much by working in partnership towards our shared vision for the territories as vibrant and flourishing communities, in line with our 2012 White Paper," Simmonds said. “Jobs and economic growth are fundamental to building safe, successful and sustainable territories. This year’s JMC will focus on agreeing practical steps for the UK and overseas territories to work together to achieve that goal.”

Simmonds will also open a major UK-Overseas Territories Business Forum on Thursday to bring together for the first time all the OTs with UK businesses and investors to explore investment opportunities.

Ahead of the trip, the premier indicated that the Cayman delegation would be using the time to press for more support from the UK regarding the issues concerning offshore finance. Alden McLaughlin said that was why Financial Services Minister Wayne Panton had been chosen as the Cabinet member to accompany him to the British capital this week. The ministers are joined by Cabinet Secretary Samuel Rose and ‘Sherpa’ Jennifer Ahearn.

Prior to the start of the JMC, the Cayman delegation also met with the other overseas territory leaders at the United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association in London (pictured above). The UKOTA is an organisation that promotes the interests of the territories and cooperation between them.

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