Overseas Territories inquiry launched

The UK’s Foreign Affairs Committee has launched a new inquiry into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s achievements with respect to the security and good governance of the Overseas Territories.

It is the first time since 1998 the Committee has considered the UK Government’s overall policy on the Overseas Territories.

Three foci of the inquiry will likely have particular relevance to residents of the Cayman Islands: the role of governors and other office-holders appointed by or on the recommendation of the UK Government; procedures for amendment of the constitutions of Overseas Territories; and human rights in the Overseas Territories.

The Committee has called for written evidence to be submitted by 15 October.

One organisation that intends to submit evidence is People for Referendum, chaired by Dennie Warren Jr.

‘We will most definitely participate in [the inquiry],’ he said. ‘The role of the governor is one of the central things we would talk about.’

Other points of focus in the inquiry include the standards of governance in the Overseas Territories; the work of the Overseas Territories Consultative Council; transparency and accountability in the Overseas Territories; regulation of the financial sector in the Overseas Territories; the application of international treaties, conventions and other agreements to the Overseas Territories; and relations between the Overseas Territories and the UK Parliament.

The Committee sent a letter to the Caymanian Compass inviting it to submit evidence.

‘[The Committee] is particularly interested in hearing from governments and representative bodies, the media and political parties in the Territories,’ the letter stated, adding that evidence should be confined to matters within the responsibility of the FCO and should focus primarily, but not exclusively, on the matters set out in the terms of reference.

Oral evidence sessions are expected to commence in November.

The UK’s National Audit Office is conducting a review of the effectiveness of the FCO’s work in relation to the Overseas Territories. Its NAO is expected to publish its report on the review in autumn.

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