By Government of the British Virgin Islands
British Virgin Islands, (BVI) – Dr Natalio Wheatley, deputy premier and minister for education, culture, youth affairs, fisheries and agriculture, led the British Virgin Islands (BVI) delegation on behalf of premier and minister of finance Andrew A. Fahie at the Pre-Joint Ministerial Council (Pre-JMC) meeting of Overseas Territories (OTs) leaders held virtually on May 27, 2021.
The premiers, ministers and representatives in attendance discussed COVID-19, economic recovery and resilience, post-Brexit financial assistance, UK/OT constitutional relationship, funding for environmental protection, crisis and disaster management and border security, among other things.
The OT Leaders acknowledged that the OTs had much to gain from each other’s experiences and pledged to work together. They also agreed to push for greater consultation of the OTs on international issues that affect them.
The decisions taken at the Pre-JMC will inform the priorities for meetings with the UK government at the annual UK-OT Joint Ministerial Council that will take place in November 2021.
The OTs represented included Anguilla, Bermuda, BVI, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Montserrat, St Helena, Tristan da Cunha and Turks & Caicos Islands.
Commenting on the exchanges between OT leaders, deputy premier Wheatley said: “I was particularly pleased with the solidarity, spirit of collaboration and common understanding expressed by OT Leaders on the challenges that we collectively and individually face. I expressed the views of the BVI on behalf of Premier Fahie and believe the OTs are well-positioned for ministerial engagement with the UK later this year.”
Wheatley was joined by permanent secretary in the premier’s office Dr Carolyn O’Neal-Morton, director of the international affairs secretariat Najan Christopher, Special Envoy of the premier Benito Wheatley, UK Representative and Director (Ag) of the BVI London Office Tracy Bradshaw, deputy director of the BVI London Office Siobhan Flax and BVI London Office Political Officer, Xante Chalwell.