British Virgin Islands

Wednesday, Jan 20, 2021

Premier shares discontent with UK, other OTS

Premier shares discontent with UK, other OTS

Premier Andrew Fahie yesterday told the Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) that the BVI is not pleased with a section of the statement that is published yearly at the end of the JMC meetings.
The JMC is a political forum which brings together UK ministers as well as elected leaders and representatives of the Overseas Territories to provide leadership and shared vision for the territories.

It was held virtually this year from November 23 to 26 and concluded yesterday.

At the end of the annual meeting, a communique is published which outlines all the areas that the leaders agree on during the forum.

But at yesterday’s meeting, Premier Fahie expressed that the BVI isn’t pleased with the language used in a section of the communique titled “Constitutional Relationship”.

Premier Fahie said his government has called for this section to be amended to reflect the UN Charter, specifically article 73, which in essence “commits the UK to help territories whose people have not yet attained a full measure of self-government; to work with us to develop the political aspirations of the people of the territory. ”

However, despite his government’s suggestions for amendment, Premier Fahie said that section of the communique has not been changed. He therefore openly declared that he will not give a vote in agreement with that section.

“The BVI’s position remains unchanged, we cannot agree with the current language of the communique relating to the Constitutional Relationship. BVI would like to openly declare a reserved position regarding the Constitutional Relationship language,” Premier Fahie explained.

He continued: “My government is of the view that the constitutional relationship between the OTs and the UK must be allowed to evolve as the territories mature. Each OT has changed their constitutional relationship with the UK based on their needs and circumstances over the past decades. Thus, illustrating that each territory’s constitution as a living document.”

Premier Fahie also said he is aware that the OTs (Overseas Territories) and Foreign and Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) officials have been working tirelessly to reach joint agreement on this year’s communiqué.

“Yet, despite the hard work of officials on all sides, we have been unable to reach agreement,” Premier Fahie said.

Premier Fahie has been vocal about the UK’s relationship with the BVI as he continues to call for the territory to become less reliant on the UK as it relates to the handling of local affairs. Local politicians have long expressed that there is often pushback from the UK government whenever local leaders try to gain authority within the territory.

However, not all local residents are in favour of giving increased political control to local representatives
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