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Cannabis and passports feature in Burt talks with Britain

David Burt discussed “cannabis reform” with the British minister responsible for the Overseas Territories (Photograph by Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press)

David Burt brought up cannabis reform and passport issues during a meeting with the British minister for Overseas Territories.

The talks formed part of the Premier’s visit to London to attend the coronation of King Charles III.

Mr Burt tweeted: “I met with Lord Goldsmith, Minister for the Overseas Territories to discuss a range of issues related to Bermuda and her people.

“It is vital that outstanding matters such as the BMU Code in our passports, cannabis reform and the extension of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities are advanced.

“I am hopeful that after our discussions there will be positive advances on these issues which are important for the people we serve in Bermuda.”

The Government’s controversial moves to explore self-governance for Bermuda were not mentioned in the Premier’s tweet.

Rena Lalgie, the Governor, announced in September that she had been “instructed” by the British foreign secretary not to give Royal Assent to the Government’s flagship Cannabis Licensing Act, which would have made possession and production of the drug legal.

Mr Burt had earlier warned that refusal to approve the cannabis legislation threatened to “destroy” the island’s relationship with Britain.

Ms Lalgie has also announced that a coding discrepancy on Bermudian passports that has caused travel headaches for almost seven years will be corrected in 2024.

“The UK Government has confirmed that work will shortly commence to return the Bermuda-specific BMU code to Bermudian British Overseas Territory Citizen passports in 2024,” a Government House statement said last month.

Travel problems with the passport code surfaced after May 2016, when the printing of Bermudian passports was taken over by Britain.

The biometric chip of Bermudian passports caused chaos in a string of countries, particularly at ports of entry to the United States other than the US pre-clearance at LF Wade International Airport.

The code GBR, for Great Britain, would appear when passport data was scanned instead of BMU, the country code for Bermuda.

Mr Burt also tweeted that he had talks with Fahad bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah, Qatar’s ambassador to Britain.

The Premier said: “As Bermuda seeks to expand its reach beyond North America and Europe, it is essential that we cultivate relationships with countries in the Gulf region like Qatar.”

The Government was asked for more information on the meeting with Lord Goldsmith by The Royal Gazette.

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Published May 11, 2023 at 7:51 am (Updated May 11, 2023 at 7:51 am)

Cannabis and passports feature in Burt talks with Britain

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