Photo: REUTERS/Hannah McKay

News Release: HAMILTON, Bermuda – The Joint Ministerial Council, held virtually November 23-26, has been a chance to celebrate the special partnership between the UK and the Overseas Territories (OTs).

Premier David Burt joined UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and elected leaders at the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC), and representatives from OTs and the UK. They held wide ranging discussions on a number of topics, including economic issues, COVID-19 response and recovery, protecting vulnerable groups and protecting the environment in both the run up to and beyond COP26.

Also attending the virtual JMC and participating in the various sessions were; Deputy Premier and Minister of Home Affairs, Walter Roban, the Attorney General, Kathy Lynn Simmons, Minister of National Security, Renee Ming, Minister of Social Development and Seniors, Tinee Furbert, Minister of Transport, Lawrence Scott, and MP Christopher Famous.

Leaders heard from His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, ahead of discussions on the environment and COP26, showing the importance the UK puts on its relationship with the Overseas Territories and recognising their huge contribution to our biodiversity.

The UK outlined support for border security, prisons and criminal justice in the Overseas Territories.

At the conclusion of the JMC, UK Ministers and OT Leaders agreed a joint communique which can be found here.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, speaking at the opening of the JMC earlier this week said:

“The UK is absolutely committed to you, to your futures and to our partnership.

“As we go forward and recover from this pandemic, we want to make sure that we build back greener and that we look after island economies that are so vulnerable to climate change.

“In spite of everything, of the difficulties we are going through, we remember that we are united by deep ties of kinship and friendship and history and values. We in the UK government are going to make sure we continue to intensify that partnership.”

Baroness Sugg, the former Minister responsible for the Overseas Territories in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office on the Joint Ministerial Council 2020, said:

“The UK government remains committed the partnership with the Overseas Territories, and to working together so communities flourish as modern, prosperous and strong democracies.

“The Overseas Territories are a much-cherished part of the British family. Bermuda is no exception.

“This is why, as the Minister responsible for the Overseas Territories in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, I am pleased to chair the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC).

“The JMC is an opportunity for leaders across the Overseas Territories to come together, including Bermuda

“This year, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson joined the council, to show the importance he puts on our relationship with the Overseas Territories.

“At the JMC, we celebrate the special partnership between the UK and the Overseas Territories. It is an opportunity to set out the shared priorities and to have a dialogue on a number of diverse topics.

“Over the years, we have forged modern partnerships, based on shared interests and values. The UK government remains committed to those partnerships, and to working with you and your governments so that your communities flourish as modern, prosperous and strong democracies.

“The UK Government takes its responsibilities towards the Overseas Territories extremely seriously. Whether that means defending you from threats, providing aid for essential services, helping you preserve your natural environment, or supporting you in times of crisis – as we have with COVID-19.

“Right now we face huge global challenges, but we face them together.

“This year, Coronavirus has impacted us all, especially where tourism is a key economic pillar. I would like to congratulate the Government and the people of Bermuda on your handling of the pandemic so far- you have seen some of the lowest infection rates in the world.”