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Deputy Premier meets Sir Tony Blair during COP28

Walter Roban, the Deputy Premier and Minister of Home Affairs, meets Sir Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, during COP28 (Photograph courtesy of the Government of Bermuda's Facebook page)

The Deputy Premier met Sir Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, during his visit to the United Arab Emirates for an annual climate conference.

A photograph of Walter Roban, also the Minister of Home Affairs, with the man who led the British Labour Party from 1994 to 2007 was posted on the Bermuda Government’s Facebook page.

It was accompanied by a post that said: "As the public is aware, Premier David Burt and Minister Roban have joined other overseas territories leaders, UK ministers and global heads of state in the United Arab Emirates for COP28.

“As a reminder, the Deputy Premier will represent Bermuda during the key discussions and forums about the impact of climate change on Caribbean nations.

“On December 4, Minister Roban will be the keynote speaker at the SDG Disrupter Summit.”

Sir Tony was the longest-serving Labour prime minister in Britain, leading the country from 1997 to 2007.

Information on the British Government website said: “One of his biggest achievements came in 1998 when the Northern Irish peace process really made progress with the Good Friday Agreement.”

Sir Tony was also credited with the realisation of constitutional changes such as Scottish and Welsh devolution and reform to the House of Lords.

His popularity waned after the invasion of Iraq by US and allied forces — including Britain — in 2003.

Mr Burt, who is also the Minister of Finance, and Mr Roban travelled to the UAE for the Conference of the Parties.

An update from the Government said the Premier was so far “extremely encouraged” by progress made to strengthen relations with global and regional partners.

It added: “Last week, the Premier attended Abu Dhabi Finance Week, an event which brings together global financial industry leaders and innovators.

“During ADFW, the Premier signed a Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of the Ministry of Economy and Labour with the Emirates Family Office Association in line with the Government’s objective to attract further economic investment to Bermuda from the Middle East.”

The statement added that Mr Burt had a formal meeting with the investment team at Mubadala and Masdar — a partnership working on decarbonisation and the transition of energy sources — to discuss infrastructure and renewable energy investments in Bermuda.

He said: “I had the opportunity to engage with international leaders, deepen our economic ties, and discuss how Bermuda and the UAE can collaborate.”

The Premier added: “It was a pleasure to re-engage with HE Ahmed Jasim Al Zaabi, chairman of ADGM [Abu Dhabi Global Market] and officials at Mubadala, having previously met with them during my visit to the UAE in March.

“These high-level engagements play a crucial role in strengthening Bermuda's global relationships and our economy.”

Mr Burt attended the opening of COP28 on Friday, where he joined other world leaders to hear pledges and commitments aimed at tackling climate change.

The government statement said: “While at the opening events, the Premier attended an event for Women Climate Leaders and Small Island Developing States, which His Majesty King Charles III and other Caricom and world leaders attended.

“The Premier also had an opportunity to engage with Caricom leaders, including prime ministers and premiers from Barbados, Bahamas, Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and fellow British Overseas Territories, the British Virgin Islands and Anguilla.”

Mr Burt said, “It’s very good to see significant representation from our OT leaders here at COP28.

“Climate action is a collective fight that we are all committed to addressing as it is islands such as ours that will be the most significantly impacted by the effects of climate change.”

Mr Burt is expected to take part in engagements with regional media outlets and hold meetings on energy, technological innovation and economic co-operation.

Bermuda will be represented in a panel discussion called Caribbean Sids [Small Island Developing States]: The Case for Access to Climate Finance by Caricom/OECS [Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States] associate members.

The Premier is to return to Bermuda on Thursday and the Deputy Premier will follow three days later.

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Published December 04, 2023 at 7:57 am (Updated December 04, 2023 at 7:57 am)

Deputy Premier meets Sir Tony Blair during COP28

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