Downing Street shuffle continues

Chris Bryant out; Baroness Glenys Kinnock in at FCO

The Cayman Islands government will find itself dealing with another brand new UK foreign office minister as intense budget negotiations with the Mother Country continue.

Baroness Glenys Elizabeth Kinnock, 65, has been named this week as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Caribbean, Central and South America, Africa and the Pacific. The position has responsibility for all British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean.

Former Under-Secretary Chris Bryant will replace Baroness Kinnock in her previous position as UK minister for Europe.

The UK swap represents the fourth foreign office leadership change in the Caribbean within the past year. Former Minister Meg Munn was replaced by Gillian Merron in October 2008; Mr. Bryant followed Ms Merron earlier this year.

The official announcement about Mr. Bryant’s promotion did not occur until Monday, but Mr. Bryant had told followers on his Twitter account Sunday morning, effectively scooping Downing Street’s press release.

Mr. Bryant has recently become well-known in Cayman following a series of contentious letters exchanged between himself and Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush over the state of Cayman’s finances. The foreign office representative had demanded that Cayman implement some more sustainable revenues – suggesting property and income taxes – to bring it out of an operating deficit.

Mr. Bush previously announced that a conditional agreement had been reached with the UK foreign office regarding borrowing approvals for Cayman, a claim which Mr. Bryant appeared to dispute just a few days later.

Baroness Kinnock, who has only held her European post since June, will have to pick up budget negotiations with Mr. Bush’s administration.