The Premier of theVirgin Islands is today urgingthe UK Government to ensure the BVI – and other Overseas Territories – have high-level engagement in the Brexit negotiations.
The Honourable Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr D. Orlando Smith is also President of the United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA) Political Council.
Dr Smith, who is currently on a visit to the UK,wants the UK Government to see the benefit and opportunity of her relationships with BVI and other Overseas Territories after Brexit.
“As the United Kingdom looks towards new horizons and realigns its relationships globally, it should see the positive role that Overseas Territories can play,” commented Dr Smith. “We are also absolutely clear that we want to have our voice heard when it comes to ensuring there are no unintended consequences for the Overseas Territories as the UK negotiates its exit from the European Union. We require high-level engagement– just like the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - and we want deal which works for the whole UK family.”
This week Dr Smith is chairing the Political Council’s annual meeting of Overseas Territories’ leaders in London ahead of the annual Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) between the Overseas Territories and UK.
At the JMC, there are key areas of discussion ranging from international trade and theenvironment to access to EU regional programmes as well as financial services. One particular area of focus is ensuring that, as the UK prepares to leave the EU, that EU regulation and legislation does not impact the BVI’s financial services sector in general and the funds industry in particular.BVI also wants to move forward in partnership with the UK to seize new economic opportunities in emerging markets.
“We know that there is widespread uncertainty caused by Brexit, not least here in the UK,” added Dr Smith. “However, thirty years ago we also went through a phase of looking to new horizons and,as an engaged and active international participant, have nurtured these relationshipsever since – especially in China and Asia-Pacific – and so we believe that some of the impact of this uncertainty will be softened.
“While we are in discussions with the UK Government about how Brexit may impact the Overseas Territories in general, we are also here as long standing partners of the UK and we are here to jointly forge and deepen international alliances.”