Prime Minister David Cameron (C) and Foreign Office Minister Mark Simmonds meet with delegates of the Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council meeting in London. FCO photo
By Caribbean News Now contributor
LONDON, England -- Premiers, chief ministers and other elected representatives from Britain’s Overseas Territories were welcomed on Wednesday to 10 Downing Street by Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, the first time that territory leaders have had a collective meeting with a British prime minister.
The meeting with Cameron came at the end of the second day of the Joint Ministerial Council of the Overseas Territories, chaired by Mark Simmonds, Britain’s recently appointed Minister for the Overseas Territories.
A press statement by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) on Wednesday recalled that Cameron had said in his foreword in the White Paper on the Overseas Territories that “The United Kingdom’s 14 Overseas Territories are an integral part of Britain’s life and history. This government is ambitious for our territories as we are ambitious for the United Kingdom. We want to see our communities flourish in partnership, with strong and sustainable local economies. We see an important opportunity to set world standards in our stewardship of the extraordinary natural environments we have inherited.”
Simmonds added, “The White Paper sets out a very positive vision for the Overseas Territories. This first meeting of the Joint Ministerial Council has helped us identify an ambitious list of priority areas for action, such as encouraging economic growth; protecting the environment and making government work better. We will work closely with the Territories in the coming year to achieve what we have together set out to do.
“Many of my ministerial colleagues from across government took part in the Council this week, demonstrating that the UK government as a whole is committed to supporting the territories.”
A joint communiqué was also issued on Wednesday that sets out priority issues and a comprehensive action plan for joint work in the coming year.