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Premier Dr. Hon. D. Orlando Smith, OBE has concluded meetings with Political Leaders of the Overseas Territories (OTs) at the annual Pre-Joint Ministerial Council Meetings in the Turks & Caicos Islands. The BVI Premier joined other leaders from Anguilla, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands with whom he discussed plans for the annual Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) and key areas for engagement with the UK; including implications of the United Kingdom’s (UK) departure from the European Union (EU).
The Premier in his capacity as President of the United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA) Political Council delivered the opening address in which he said the Overseas Territories are strategically more important to the UK after Brexit.
“The OTS are now more strategically important to Britain than ever before. To remain globally relevant the UK needs to maintain as large an international footprint as possible. The Territories are integral to the UK having a global presence. The political and economic reality of Brexit should bring into clearer focus the value of OTs and our strategic position on security, trade, environment and foreign affairs.”
The Premier also Chaired a plenary session on OT-UK relations where he called for a “re-reframing of the OT-UK relationship to be more mutually beneficial and take into direct account the priorities of the Territories.”
“We made good progress in preparing for ministerial discussions at the JMC later this year in London.”
The Virgin Islands is a member of UKOTA. BVI London Office Director Benito Wheatley is currently the Chairman of the Association and the Premier the President of the UKOTA Political Council. Permanent Secretary Brodrick Penn and Director of International Affairs also accompanied the Premier.