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UK OTs Annual Meet

The Minister for the Overseas Territories, Chris Bryant, met on Monday (7 December) elected leaders from five British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean who were in London for the annual Overseas Territories Consultative Council (OTCC) on 8 and 9 December.

Mr. Bryant hosted the Hon. Osbourne Fleming, Chief Minister of Anguilla; Dr. the Hon. Ewart Brown, Premier of Bermuda; the Hon. McKeeva Bush, Premier of the Cayman Islands and the Hon. Reuben Meade, Chief Minister of Montserrat, in a joint meeting. He separately met the Premier of the British Virgin Islands, the Hon. Ralph O'Neal.The discussion focused on the extent and nature of the UK Government's contingent liabilities in the Caribbean Overseas Territories and the Territories' role in managing them. This included sound financial management, government borrowing and good governance.

In welcoming the meeting and this week's events, Mr. Bryant said, "We had a good discussion, during which I explained why the UK Government had felt it necessary to take firm action in the Turks and Caicos Islands. We want the maximum amount of self-government possible and we have no desire to micro-manage the economy in any of the OTs.

"But I am also accountable to Parliament and it would be negligent of me if we did not take a keen, active interest in the economic and social well-being of the OTs. That's why we will step in when we have concerns about poor financial management and inadequate governance."

Similar issues were covered in the Minister's separate meeting with the Premier of the British Virgin Islands.

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 who attended this year's OTCC were:

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.

For further information contact: Cornelia Oliver