New OT minister meeting planned

A government delegation from Cayman is preparing to meet for the first time the newly appointed Minister for Overseas Territories in London, Gillian Merron.

gillian

Minister Gillian Merron

Ms Merron replaced Meg Munn in a recent cabinet reshuffle by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

An eight-member team from Cayman will attend a two-day meeting of the Overseas Territories Consultative Council in London from Tuesday, followed by a meeting with Ms Merron on Thursday.

Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts said, ‘This will be our first meeting and I will use this opportunity to brief her on issues of interest to the Cayman Islands at this time.’

He said that he had received correspondence that showed Ms Merron was ‘up to speed on what has been going on’ in Cayman in relation to the state of constitutional modernisation on the island, but said he would use the meeting to bring her up to date.

However, Mr. Tibbetts insisted the group would not have any specific discussions regarding proposed constitutional changes, other than finalising dates with the head of the UK delegation of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Ian Hendry, for December meetings in London.

‘Certainly, we would not be dealing with any specific negotiations there in the absence of all the other stakeholders,’ Mr. Tibbetts said.

Representatives of Cayman Ministers Association, the Cayman Islands Mission of Seventh Day Adventists, the Chamber of Commerce, the Human rights Committee, as well as government ministers and opposition MLAs are expected to attend the December constitutional talks. The first of those talks were held in Cayman last month.

The delegation on its way to London this week includes Mr. Tibbetts, Minister Alden McLaughlin, Attorney General Samuel Bulgin, Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson, Cabinet Secretary Orrett Connor, Assistant Financial Secretary Deborah Drummond and political analyst to the Leader of Government Business Barbara Conolly. They will be joined by the Cayman Islands Government Representative in London Jennifer Dilbert when they arrive.

The OTCC meets once a year in London after it was set up in 1999 to serve as a forum for the UK government to discuss key policy issues with heads of overseas territory governments.

Mr. Tibbetts, giving details of the upcoming meeting at a press briefing on Thursday said the agenda would include discussions on the Foreign Affairs Committee report and good governance, economic issues relating to development, human rights obligations, immigration and environment and disaster management.

Also on the agenda is a witness protection programme for the Caribbean, and financial services and anti-money laundering.

While in London, the group will also meet with members of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

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