BVI, Caribbeanand International News

OT Minister’s visit to focus on security, environment, COI reforms

OT Minister’s visit to focus on security, environment, COI reforms

The Deputy Governor’s Office has officially announced Overseas Territories Minister Lord Zac Goldsmith’s plans during his ongoing visit to the BVI. However, there is, so far, no indication that the UK minister has prioritised discussions about removing the Order in Council hanging over the BVI.
The order, which is a consequence of the findings of a damning Commission of Inquiry (COI) report released last year, is being held in reserve in the UK parliament and sanctions the suspension of the BVI’s constitution, allowing for Britain to take over for at least two years.

Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley said days ago that Lord Goldsmith had promised to discuss removing the order during this visit to the BVI. But based on a statement from the Deputy Governor’s Office on Tuesday, Lord Goldsmith’s focus is placed elsewhere.

The release said Lord Goldsmith’s visit is to further develop the partnership between the UK and BVI and discuss a range of issues including United Kingdom support for environmental and security projects and implementation of the Commission of Inquiry recommendations.

“The minister will meet with elected representatives, senior officials, and community representatives. His programme will focus on both security and environmental issues, with a visit to RVIPF’s Marine Base and to Anegada to see the impact of the Stony Coral Tissues Loss Disease,” the release noted.

Lord Goldsmith said he was also excited to see the range of conservation and biodiversity projects and discuss potential areas where the governments of the BVI and the UK can further work together in helping build the territory’s resilience to climate change.

“I am keen to meet the people here and to learn more about the BVI first-hand. I look forward to discussions focusing on the reform programme and how to ensure momentum is maintained,” the Minister for Overseas Territories said.

Lord Goldsmith’s three-day visit to the territory runs from January 31 to February 2.

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