Bermuda attends OTs meeting in UK
Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Kim Wilson, met with Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron this week, when she led a Bermuda delegation in meetings with the Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council in London.
Acting on behalf of the Premier, Paula Cox, Sen Wilson met with Premiers, Chief Ministers and other elected representatives from Britain’s Overseas Territories who met with the Joint Ministerial Council.
The summit concluded yesterday with the agreement of a joint communiqué which sets out “priority issues and a comprehensive action plan for joint work in the coming year”.
The OT conference was chaired by Mark Simmonds, Minister for the Overseas Territories. Sen Wilson was accompanied by Secretary to the Cabinet Donald Scott and Bermuda London Office Director Kimberley Durrant.
According to a Government spokeswoman, Bermuda was asked to lead the discussion on ‘Making Communities Safer and Criminal Justice’, to emphasise “Bermuda’s prompt approach to tackle gang activity and to share practice with fellow OT Governments”.
“Minister Wilson highlighted Bermuda’s three-level approach, to include: Prevention, highlighting the successes of the Mirrors programme; Intervention across Ministerial level with the interaction gang task force; and the enforcement of the legislative enactments to combat the issue of gang activity.
“Helen Grant MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Ministry of Justice, chaired the session on Criminal Justice and praised Bermuda on its efforts. Minister Grant specifically welcomed future discussions where both the UK Government and the Government of Bermuda may learn from each other’s practice.”
Prime Minister David Cameron met with the participants at the end of the second day of talks. In his forward in the White Paper, Prime Minister Cameron said: “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.”
Minister Simmonds said: “The White Paper sets out a very positive vision for the Overseas Territories.” Following the first meeting of the Joint Ministerial Council, he described the talks as “helpful” in identifying “an ambitious list of priority areas for action, such as encouraging economic growth; protecting the environment and making government work better”.
He concluded: “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.”
The talks were followed up with a bilateral meeting with Minister Simmonds on Monday and Tuesday at the UK Overseas Territories Political Council (UKOTA).
According to the statement: “A decision was taken by the Leaders that UKOTA will now operate as a formal Secretariat. UK based Representatives of the Overseas Territories through their London Offices have been tasked with its development for a formal implementation for the New Year.”
Sen Wilson concluded the whirlwind visit by attending “a networking reception for all Bermudians in the UK”, hosted by the Bermuda Government’s London Office. The reception “was an opportunity for those living in the UK to meet with fellow Bermudians and to discuss issues of concern with local officials”.
See the full communiqué on www.theroyalgazette.bm