Ministers from the Cayman Islands and seven other overseas territories will meet in Turks and Caicos this week to address issues ahead of the Joint Ministerial Council meeting in London this fall.
“We meet each year ahead of the Joint Ministerial Council to discuss the many areas in which we can work together,” Premier Alden McLaughlin said in a press release. “This year we will also explore the implications on the OTs and their relationship with the European Union, as it will be our first meeting since the United Kingdom referendum to leave the EU.
“Through this meeting we will come to a consensus on the way forward to strengthen our collective position at the full JMC meeting,” the premier said.
The full meeting in London is scheduled for Oct. 31 to Nov. 4.
Senior political adviser Roy Tatum, who is part of the Cayman delegation, said impacts from the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the EU will be a key issue for the meeting.
The main purpose of the meeting, he said in an email, “is to allow the OT leaders to have frank discussions on matters of mutual concern and to ensure that the London JMC agenda includes matters that the OTs want addressed. It also allows OT leaders to agree on a single united voice on key issues.”
He said the overseas territories each have their own concerns over Brexit.
“Some are impacted more than others – Gibraltar, for instance, has a major concern given the dispute with Spain. Other OTs receive EU funding of various sorts and may be impacted.
“In terms of Cayman, the main potential impact includes travel and financial services – concerns also faced by London. But, like London, this impact will not be known until the landscape is clearer as to what kind of deal the U.K. will get from the EU,” Mr. Tatum said.
“What we and the other OTs can seek is to have our collective voices heard as a deal is being made. There is more strength in unity,” he added.
Other topics of concern for Cayman, Mr. Tatum said, include the Zika virus, the environment, economic development and the financial services industry.
In addition to the premier and Mr. Tatum, the Cayman delegation includes Financial Services Minister Wayne Panton, Cabinet Secretary Samuel Rose and policy analyst Jason Webster.
Mr. Tatum said the premier and Mr. Panton will “lead a session on addressing the ‘Offshore stigma’ and counteracting it.” Turks and Caicos Premier Rufus Ewing will chair the two-day meeting on July 20 and 21.
In addition to the Turks and Caicos and Cayman delegations, representatives from the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Montserrat, Gibraltar, Anguilla and the Falkland Islands will participate. The secretary general for CARICOM, the regional federation, will attend the first day.