The United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA) Political Council Meeting took place Monday 3 December, Chaired by the Cayman Islands.
Premier Alden McLaughlin, current President of the Political of UKOTA, served as Chair with the assistance of Eric Bush, Cayman Islands Representative in London and the current Chairman of UKOTA.
In addition to his duties as the current President of UKOTA these meetings present an opportunity for the Premier to meet with his fellow Overseas Territories leaders to discuss matters with regards to UKOTA as an organisation as well as to discuss and agree positions to be taken at the upcoming Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) meetings with the UK Government.
The Political Council meeting incorporated an in-depth review of the activity of UKOTA throughout the year. Matters discussed included the provision of a part time secretary to support the work of UKOTA, issues to do with BOT citizenship of children born out of wedlock, as well as the hosting of next year 2019 pre-JMC Meetings.
It was agreed that the BOT citizenship issue should be raised at the JMC meetings and that the Cayman Islands will host the 2019 pre-JMC meetings at the beginning of July. This will allow Overseas Territories leaders to participate in our sixtieth anniversary celebrations.
Also discussed were issues relating to the safeguarding of children, constitutional matters, passports, environment and climate change, European Union engagement and OTs student engagement.
The Premier commented. “It has been a pleasure to serve as President of UKOTA, we have covered a range of issues today and sought to reach some level of consensus between the Overseas Territories so we are able to speak with a unified voice when we address UK Ministers during the JMC meetings.” He went on to say “we look forward to hosting the Leaders of OT Governments on our beautiful Islands, at next year’s pre JMC, not only to progress discussions, but to share with them our culture and Celebrate Cayman festivities”.
Following the meeting the delegation met with The All Party Parliamentary Group for the Cayman Islands at Portcullis House. The meeting was Chaired by Sir Graham Bradey MP. The Premier updated the APPG on how well the Cayman economy is doing and also discussed concerns around the EU Blacklisting process, and the upcoming constitutional talks with the UK Government. The members of the APPG present muted their continued support for the Cayman Islands and were pleased to receive the update from the Premier.
The day ended with the Premier attending a private dinner for the Heads of Overseas Territories Governments hosted by Lord Ahmad, Minister for the Overseas Territories.