United Kingdom and British Overseas Territories’ leaders are set to convene virtually for the annual Joint Ministerial Council meeting, which starts Monday.
The meeting is usually held in London, but will instead be held via video conference from Monday through Thursday, the Premier’s Office said Friday in a media statement.
“The JMC meets once a year to provide a forum for the exchange of views on political and constitutional issues between the governments of the Overseas Territories and the UK Government,” the statement said.
Premier Alden McLaughlin, together with various ministers and other officials, will attend the meetings which will commence Monday with a welcome from UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Members of Cabinet will join the premier in the virtual meetings this year.
The UK is currently in lockdown mode as the government there tries to slow the spread of COVID-19. Included in those measures are travel restrictions. The pandemic will feature in JMC meetings with the OT and UK leaders as they discuss measures they have taken to respond to COVID-19 and the way forward, including vaccines.
McLaughlin is scheduled to speak about amendments to the Cayman Islands Constitution, which were assented to by the Privy Council on 11 Nov., the statement said.
Those amendments include a mandatory requirement for the UK to consult with local leaders on any legislation which will directly affect the Cayman Islands, removal of the governor’s power to write Standing Orders for lawmakers and renaming the Legislative Assembly as Parliament.
The changes also include the addition of an eighth minister, which has been deferred until the next election, and the creation of Parliamentary Secretaries as well as a Police Service Commission.
Monday’s JMC session would conclude with a discussion about border-security challenges.
Topics for discussion on Tuesday through Thursday include:
- Economic resilience in small, open island economies against the backdrop of COVID-19 and other economic shocks
- EU exit and its impacts, including funding, market access and mobility
- Issues concerning free trade agreements and international trade
- Protecting the vulnerable, specifically focussing on mental health, domestic abuse and children
- Environmental protection and funding through the UK’s Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
- COP26 opportunities and engagement in the UN Climate Change Conference being hosted by the UK in 2021
What is the JMC meeting?
The annual Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council meeting brings together political leaders from the Overseas Territories and UK ministers and is the principal forum for reviewing and implementing strategies for promoting the security and good governance of the OTs and their economic and social development.