News Release: HAMILTON, Bermuda – The public will be aware that last week, the Premier attended the Heads of Government (HoG) Meeting, which took place February 25 – 28 in Guyana.

During his Guyana visit, Premier Burt held a bilateral meeting with Baroness Patricia Scotland KC, the Commonwealth Secretary-General, and Commonwealth officials. The bilateral meeting was following an informal engagement with Baroness Scotland at COP28.

Matters discussed during the Guyana bilateral included the Commonwealth Climate Finance Hub and technical assistance for Overseas Territories via the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation.”

The Premier said: “Baroness Scotland and I had a very engaging and productive discussion on matters related to Bermuda. I expressed the desire for our insurance industry to participate fully in the Commonwealth Climate Finance Hub.

“The Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub assists small and vulnerable member states in gaining access to climate finance. We believe that Commonwealth member states will benefit from Bermuda’s growing expertise in climate finance. I was grateful for the commitment from Baroness Scotland for Commonwealth officials to work with Bermuda to ensure that our financial services industry has access to this vital Hub.”

The Premier continued: “We also discussed the importance of Overseas Territories’ access to Commonwealth technical assistance and support. This support could provide long- or short-term expertise, undertaking research and feasibility studies, or technical advice on targeted capacity building. I was encouraged by Baroness Scotland’s willingness for the Overseas Territories to access the significant range of technical support offered to Commonwealth nations.”

The Caricom HoG Meetings occur twice annually and gathers the fifteen member states and five associate members. The meetings serve as a platform for leaders to discuss and make decisions on regional cooperation, integration, and development matters. Topics on last week’s CARICOM Meeting agenda included regional security, the Single Market and Economy, food and nutrition security, Climate Resilience and Energy Security.

Finally, several outcomes at the end of the Caricom HoG Meeting were shared in an Official Communique. Regarding the issue of freedom of movement by member state citizens, Premier Burt said, “There were many matters discussed during last week’s HoG Meetings. Specifically, regarding the movement of member states’ citizens, it would be incorrect to conclude that full membership means freedom of movement for citizens of other member states to Bermuda. We recognise that this is a topical matter here at home, and to ensure clarity – freedom of movement does not automatically follow full membership.

In fact, it has been stated on numerous occasions that many full members of Caricom do not participate in freedom of movement. Furthermore, specific agreements, negotiations, and protocols are required, and it is not something the Government of Bermuda is contemplating as Bermuda is too small to have open borders.

The Premier returned to Bermuda on February 29.