Published 26th June 2019, 1:22pm
I bring a warm Caymanian welcome to you this morning.
For those of you who have been here before, welcome back. If this is your first visit to the Cayman Islands, I do hope it will not be your last time and I hope we will see you again and that you will have opportunities to experience our culture, attractions, culinary delights and especially our people. I have no doubt you will be back. We do hope you will.
Some of you were here with us just a few short years ago – five to be exact – when we last hosted the Pre-JMC in 2014. Our purpose today is to set the stage for the next meeting of the Joint Ministerial Council in London in November this year.
As we come together for these Pre-JMC meetings each year, the items on our agenda can vary with the changing climate both figuratively and literally. And so it is important that we in this room discuss and agree as much as we are able on a common position to take with us to London.
While the principles espoused in the 2012 White Paper on Security, Success and Sustainability remain important topics, we are now also faced with issues dealing with Climate Change, Brexit, FinTech opportunities, Health and Constitutional considerations.
Also worth noting is that when we get to London in November there will be a new Prime Minister with his own Cabinet and so potentially the players that we now deal with may very well be changed. I do hope, as I am sure the rest of you do, that we will be able to keep Lord Ahmad as Minister with responsibility for the Overseas Territories. I think we can all agree that he has done a stellar job over the past two years and that he has a shown willingness to fight the establishments when needed on behalf of the people in our territories.
What we do not know, as yet, is whether the October deadline for Brexit will have been met and so we can only watch and wait as the scenarios continue to play out and work to ensure that whatever the outcome, we in the Territories are able to benefit from opportunities presented.
As Heads of Government for Overseas Territories we once again have an opportunity to exchange views on political and constitutional issues, especially as they relate to the United Kingdom and its relationship with us.
I thank those of you who will be able to stay on in the Cayman Islands and take part in the various events we have planned for this week – the inaugural UK/OT Trade Summit and the many celebrations of the 60th anniversary of our first written Constitution. Joining us later this week will be Lord Ahmad, arriving this evening, and Jamaica Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who arrives Friday, along with three visiting British MPs: Sir Graham Brady, Sir Michael Fallon and Lord Northbrook.
Again, I welcome you to the Cayman Islands and while we do have a full agenda today, I hope that you will find time to enjoy all we have to offer.
I look forward to the usual spirited discussion and debate and pray that we all find these proceedings informative and that we come away with a strategic plan to take our message forward to the full JMC meeting.