FCO director makes rounds in Cayman

Ben Merrick, left, meets with Cayman Finance CEO Jude Scott, Governor Martyn Roper and Cayman Finance Chair Conor O’Dea.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office director for the overseas territories, Ben Merrick, visited Grand Cayman on Friday, for a full day of meetings with government and local officials.

Mr. Merrick met with Premier Alden McLaughlin, members of the opposition and community leaders, among others, according to the Cayman Islands government.

“This was my first visit to the Cayman Islands and I was pleased to have such a full programme for my short visit. It was a pleasure to meet with the Premier, Leader of the Opposition and the Cabinet and hear their thoughts on a number of topics,” he said in a statement issued by government.

“The Cayman Islands continues to set the standard across the Overseas Territories on a range of issues and I am very grateful for people freeing up their time to meet with me today and share the latest developments.”

He began the morning discussing issues such as constitutional change with Mr. McLaughlin over breakfast. He then met with Cabinet and later with Opposition leader Ezzard Miller.
Hazard Management Director Danielle Coleman and her team provided insight on disaster recovery. This discussion followed recent visits by Mr. Merrick to the British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands to review their recovery from the 2017 hurricane season.
Mr. Merrick also met with community leaders, including Ania Milanowska, executive director of the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre.

“He congratulated Ms. Milanowska on the start of the Kids Helpline and explained that he had worked as a volunteer for six years on the U.K.’s Childline,” the government press release said.

Other meetings were held with Cayman Finance, Police Commissioner Derek Byrne, Ombudsman Sandy Hermiston, Auditor General Sue Winspear and Head of Customs and Immigration Charles Clifford.

The day ended with a tour of the RCIPS Air Operations Unit and a briefing on Cayman’s forthcoming, new helicopter, jointly funded by the FCO and local government.