Foreign Office Minister Chris Bryant hosts, on 9 December, the eleventh meeting of the Overseas Territories Consultative Council (OTCC) a key event in the British Government/Overseas Territories calendar. This will be Chris Bryant's first Overseas Territories Consultative Council.
Ministerial discussion will cover a range of topics including the UK/Overseas Territories relationship; economic issues in the light of the global crisis; financial services regulation following the G20 Summit; human rights; public sector reform; the environment; and immigration issues affecting the Territories.
Premiers, Chief Ministers and their equivalents from Britain's Overseas Territories will attend. Other British Ministers joining Chris Bryant and Territory leaders for discussions in London include Michael Foster MP, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for International Development; 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; and Meg Hillier, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Identity at the Home Office.
This year, at the request of Overseas Territory leaders, a Forum is being held the day before the Consultative Council, on 8 December, to review the 1999 Government White Paper "Partnership for Progress and Prosperity - Britain and the Overseas Territories". The White Paper established the principles that have guided the relationship between the UK and Territories since 1999.
Chris Bryant said: "I'm delighted to welcome elected leaders from the Overseas Territories to this year's Overseas Territories Consultative Council. Much has happened since Territory leaders gathered in London 12 months ago. Developments across many of the Territories, not least in the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the economic and financial services challenges that many of them face, have, in some cases, put our relationship under strain. We've got a great deal to discuss and difficult issues to address. I'm looking forward to open and frank discussions and to working with Territory leaders to resolve those issues and to strengthening our relationship. We value our relationship with the Overseas Territories highly and are keen to maintain that bond of friendship, even if at times we have to be critical friends."
The Overseas Territories Consultative Council was established as a result of the 1999 White Paper "Partnership for Progress and Prosperity" on the UK's relationship with the Overseas Territories. The Consultative Council was set up as a forum for discussion of key policy issues between British Ministers and Heads of Overseas Territories' Governments. The Council meets once a year in London. An FCO Minister (currently Chris Bryant) has specific responsibilities for Overseas Territory issues. The Territory leaders attending this year's OTCC are: Hon Osbourne Fleming, Chief Minister, Anguilla; Hon Ewart F Brown, Premier, Bermuda; Hon Ralph T O'Neal, Premier, the British Virgin Islands; Hon McKeeva Bush, Premier, the Cayman Islands; Dick Sawle, Member of the Legislative Assembly, the Falkland Islands; Hon Reuben Meade, Chief Minister, Montserrat; Mr Michael Warren, Mayor, Pitcairn Islands; Hon Cyril Gunnell, Councillor, St Helena; Mr Conrad Glass, Chief Islander, Tristan da Cunha; and Ann Miller, Councillor, Ascension Island.