Government is monitoring UK political turmoil
The Bermuda Government is monitoring developments in the UK in the wake of the resignation of Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister.
Mr Johnson announced yesterday that he had stepped down as leader of the Conservative Party after a wave of resignations, although he said he intended to remain as a “caretaker” prime minister until a successor was chosen.
A government spokeswoman said: “The Government of Bermuda’s London Office has provided consistent briefings to the Cabinet Office regarding developments in Westminster.
“The situation continues to be monitored as it unfolds.”
Cole Simons, the Opposition Leader, said he expected Bermuda’s relationship with the UK would remain strong despite the forthcoming change in leadership.
“I am certain that the new incoming prime minister will have many significant issues to address in the coming days and weeks and that Bermuda's issues will not have a high priority on that list,” he said.
“That said, it is our expectation that the relationship which Bermuda currently enjoys with the UK government will continue without any hindrances.
“More specifically, we expect that the UK's support in providing Covid-19 supplies will continue, that the university benefits for Bermudian students in the UK will be uninterrupted and that the UK will address Bermuda's outstanding passport issues.
“Bermuda has a very respectable relationship with the UK government, and we expect that to continue with the new Prime Minister.
“Bermuda's London office have been able to provide us with access to Whitehall and Number 10 Downing Street when issues arise and we expect that access to remain intact.”
Mr Simons said he was appreciative that the UK Government under Mr Johnson had provided the island with Covid-19 related supplies throughout the pandemic.
He added: “Despite the key achievements of the Boris Johnson government, the difficult decisions made during his tenure, which included taking the country through Brexit, providing leadership and support throughout the pandemic for the UK and the Overseas Territories, being the first world leader to provide substantial support to Ukraine and his landslide victory over foreign minister Jeremy Hunt, they were all overshadowed by the blatant inconsistencies in his character.”
Bermuda’s main relationship with the UK is through the Governor, Rena Lalgie, to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
Despite the upheavals in the UK Cabinet, the Foreign Office has remained relatively stable, with both Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, and Amanda Milling, the junior minister with responsibility for Bermuda and other Overseas Territories, remaining in place throughout the crisis.
The main issue for the Britain and Bermuda now is whether to approve the controversial Cannabis Licensing Act, which Ms Lalgie said breached UK international obligations and referred to Ms Truss.
Ongoing problems with Bermuda’s British Overseas Territories passports, where printing is massively delayed, remain a sticking point as well. In addition, the passports are incorrectly coded, hampering Bermudians transiting through the US in points of entry which are not aware of the Bermuda’s right to visa-free travel.