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New Strategy for OTs

Cayman Islands' flag

The UK Government's new strategy for its Overseas Territories will be at the heart of discussions at the annual Overseas Territories Consultative Council (OTCC) on 23-24 November.

Hosted by Foreign Office Minister for the Overseas Territories, Henry Bellingham MP, the meeting will bring together Premiers, Chief Ministers and elected representatives from across Britain's Overseas Territories. Discussions will focus on the UK Government's strategy and look forward to the proposed 2012 White Paper on the Overseas Territories. There will be sessions on a wide range of subjects including: aviation safety, good governance, criminal justice, economic development, and environment and climate change.

The Council will be attended by Ministers from the Departments for International Development; Transport; Environment; Energy and Climate Change; the Treasury; Home Office; Ministry of Defence; Culture, Media and Sport; and Business, Innovation and Skills.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Henry Bellingham MP said:

"I am delighted to welcome elected leaders from the Overseas Territories to this year's meeting in London. Much has happened since Territory leaders gathered here 12 months ago and I am delighted that the UK Government has developed and agreed a clear strategy towards the Territories focused on increasing our engagement with them; working together to strengthen good governance arrangements, public financial management and economic planning, where necessary; and developing external support for the Territories.

A strong demonstration of our increased support for the Territories was provided by this Government's decision to build a new airport on St Helena. I will be joined at the meeting this year by several colleagues from across the Government. This is a sign of the strengthening engagement of the whole of the UK government with the Overseas Territories.

I look forward to discussing with Territory leaders their ideas for the development of our partnership which will help us develop our thinking for the White Paper on the Overseas Territories that we intend to publish next year."

In addition to the Council meeting, leaders and elected representatives will attend a reception hosted by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association as well as having bilateral meetings with Mr Bellingham.

Note for Readers

The United Kingdom's 14 Overseas Territories, spread across the globe, are diverse communities. They range from the island of Pitcairn with its 47 inhabitants, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, to Bermuda, which has a population of over 62,000 and is one of the world's major financial centres. The total population of the territories is around 239,000.

The Consultative Council, held annually since 1999, is 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. The Territory leaders attending this year's OTCC are:

Hon Hubert Hughes, Chief Minister, Anguilla; Kitty George, Councillor, Ascension Island; Hon Paula Cox JP MP, Premier, Bermuda; Hon Dr Orlando Smith, Premier, The British Virgin Islands; Hon McKeeva Bush, Premier, The Cayman Islands; Dick Sawle and Jan Cheek, Members of the Legislative Assembly, The Falkland Islands; Hon Reuben Meade, Premier, Montserrat; Rodney Buckley, Councillor, St Helena; Ian Lavarello, Chief Islander, Tristan da Cunha.

The Foreign Secretary announced in September the main principles of the Government's new strategy towards the Overseas Territories. This included cross-Government agreement, endorsed by the Prime Minister, that each Department should recognise its responsibility to engage with the Territories in its area of competence and expertise. The new strategy is currently open to consultation, which can be found here.

Henry Bellingham will be joined by nine UK Ministers at the Council meeting; Alan Duncan, Minister of State at the Department for International Development; James Brokenshire, Minister for Crime Prevention, Home Office; Theresa Villiers, Minister of State, Department for Transport; Richard Benyon, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Natural Environment and Fisheries, Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs; David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury; Gregory Barker, Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change; David Willetts, Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills; John Penrose, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport; and Gerald Howarth, Minister for International Security Strategy, Ministry of Defence.

All the latest news is available on our website at: www.fco.gov.uk/news.