Chief Minister returns from successful talks in London | THE DAILY HERALD

UK Overseas Territories leaders with Lord Ahmad and Minister Walker

ANGUILLA–The Government of Anguilla participated in the UK Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) held at Lancaster House, London on June 14. The meeting was chaired by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The Government of Anguilla delegation was led by the Chief Minister Victor Banks and consisted of Fritz Smith, Charlie Wheeler, Frederick Blunt, Nicholas Opfermann and Jose Vanterpool. Blondel Cluff CBE was not in attendance on this occasion due to an important all-day meeting, but had attended the bilateral meeting with the Chief Minister and Lord Ahmad on the previous day. Governor Tim Foy OBE was also present at the JMC.

The JMC morning session consisted of discussions on Disaster Management and the Constitutional Relationship between the United Kingdom and its Overseas Territories. The Chief Minister provided an overall summary of the situation in Anguilla following the 2017 hurricanes and an update on preparedness for the 2018 hurricane season. Lord Ahmad remarked that he had enjoyed a very positive and constructive meeting with the Anguilla delegation during their bilateral meeting, as well as was impressed with the people and the recovery efforts in Anguilla during his recent visit to the island.

During the discussions on the Constitutional Relationship, the Chief Minister showed unity with fellow Overseas Territories, however, reminded the UK Government that unlike the majority of other territories Anguilla’s international financial services are not a devolved power and are instead the responsibility of the Governor under Anguilla’s constitution.

The JMC afternoon session was focused on European Union (EU) Exit (Brexit) and consisted of a series of discussions on negotiations, international trade, EDF funding & ODA, Borders and Co-operation.

The Chief Minister reiterated the importance of Anguilla’s relationship with French and Dutch St. Martin and the need for the continued free movement of goods, services and people between Anguilla and neighbouring EU related islands. The UK Government stated that this important issue had been fully acknowledged and that if there was any deterioration in the current relationships or border arrangements post-Brexit then the UK would provide its full support for Anguilla in rectifying the issue with France and the Netherlands.

During discussions on EDF funding, Minister of State at the Department for International Development (DFID) Lord Bates stated that this type of funding for the Overseas Territories would continue until 2024, with the UK contributing to the European fund. Furthermore, during the Health discussions, it was reported by the Department of Health that they were reviewing the current UK National Health Service (NHS) quota system for the Overseas Territories, which is out-dated and only allows NHS treatment for four individuals from Anguilla per year. It was also duly noted that the UK government is now committed to supporting Anguilla in exploring the potential for establishing a regulated and licensed fishing regime in Anguilla’s exclusive economic zone.

The Chief Minister and Fritz Smith returned to Anguilla on Friday, June 15.

Source: The Daily Herald