No compulsion’ for Burt to attend UK talks
Bermuda’s Premier and Cabinet Office minister were not required to appear at a British Foreign Affairs Select Committee session to examine Britain’s relationship with its Overseas Territories, a member of the all-party group said last night.
Ian Murray, a Labour MP, emphasised there was “no compulsion to attend” on David Burt or Walton Brown for the Wednesday meeting.
The discussions were part of an inquiry into the future of Overseas Territories in relation to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Mr Murray, the MP for Edinburgh South in Scotland, added: “We invited all the participants to attend if they so wished and some took it up and others didn’t.”
Mr Burt had been listed among those due to appear for the session, which heard from eight Overseas Territories leaders.
Neither Mr Burt nor Mr Brown went to the meeting — but last night the Premier said that it had been unnecessary.
Mr Burt said: “Bermuda has regular, direct engagement with the UK’s officials and ministers and, as such, Bermuda’s position on a wide variety of issues is well known and familiar to actual key decision-makers in London.
“The London Office is staffed by an expert team who provide leadership and daily interaction at the highest levels of the UK Government.
“I informed the Governor before leaving Bermuda for London that I would not be appearing before the committee.”
The UK Parliament’s website said the session with the Overseas Territories was the first in “more than a decade”.
Bermuda got a brief mention when Sharlene Cartwright- Robinson, the Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, was asked if the territory planned to emulate Bermuda in permitting same-sex marriages.
The committee received written evidence from across the territories in September.
Bermudian submissions included statements from George Fergusson, a former Governor, Bob Richards, a former Minister of Finance, as well as Saul Dismont and Peter Sanderson, both lawyers.
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