Premier Burt On Joint Council Meeting In UK

December 10, 2017 | 11 Comments

“Our approach of high level engagement in the UK is the right and most effective one,” Premier and Minister of Finance David Burt said after his recent trip to the UK where he attended the Joint Ministerial Council,  held other meetings and signed the United Kingdom – Bermuda Country by Country Competent Authority Agreement.

Speaking in the House of Assembly on Friday [Dec 8], the Premier said, “I rise today to update this House on my participation last week in the Joint Ministerial Council of UK Ministers and elected Leaders and Representatives of the Overseas Territories.

“I was honoured to represent Bermuda and all Overseas Territories as President of the Political Council of the United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association.

“Together, the UK Overseas Territories represent a quarter of a million people through the Caribbean, Mid Atlantic, South Atlantic and Europe. As Prime Minister the Rt. Hon Theresa May stated, the Overseas Territories are a part of what defines a true Global Britain.

“As President of the Political Council it was important that on behalf of the Leaders I indicated that there is no better example of the need for long-term sustainability than Montserrat, which has been waiting for twenty years for the rebuilding of vital infrastructure after the devastating volcanic eruption, and which still remains dependent upon British Aid. Certainly, all Territories desire to be self-sufficient and most of our discussions at the JMC focused on this.

“In addition, I was proud to sign the United Kingdom – Bermuda Country by Country Competent Authority Agreement while in London,” Premier Burt added. “It is notable that Bermuda is the first and only Territory to enter into such an agreement with the UK.

“Our approach of high level engagement in the UK is the right and most effective one. It is my desire that this continues.”

The Premier’s full statement follows below:

I rise today to update this House on my participation last week in the Joint Ministerial Council of UK Ministers and elected Leaders and Representatives of the Overseas Territories.

Mr Speaker,

I was honoured to represent Bermuda and all Overseas Territories as President of the Political Council of the United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association.

Chaired by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the United Nations at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the objective of the meeting was to uphold and strengthen the relationship between the United Kingdom and its Overseas Territories.

Together, the UK Overseas Territories represent a quarter of a million people through the Caribbean, Mid Atlantic, South Atlantic and Europe. As Prime Minister the Rt. Hon Theresa May stated, the Overseas Territories are a part of what defines a true Global Britain.

Mr Speaker,

I had an opportunity to meet with the Prime Minister along with my fellow Overseas Territories Leaders at No. 10 Downing Street.

The Prime Minister was keen to show her support for the Territories in view of recent catastrophic hurricanes Irma and Maria and to outline her Government’s commitments to address the long-term sustainability for the Territories impacted.

As President of the Political Council it was important that on behalf of the Leaders I indicated that there is no better example of the need for long-term sustainability than Montserrat, which has been waiting for twenty years for the rebuilding of vital infrastructure after the devastating volcanic eruption, and which still remains dependent upon British Aid. Certainly, all Territories desire to be self-sufficient and most of our discussions at the JMC focused on this.

Mr Speaker

One feature of the JMC is the opportunity to dialogue with Ministers from all Departments across Whitehall. This year we welcomed the Foreign Secretary, the Rt. Hon Boris Johnson; newly appointed Secretary of State for Development, the Rt. Hon Penny Mordaunt; Minister of State for the Department for International Development, the Rt. Hon Lord Bates and Financial Secretary to the Treasury, the Rt. Hon Mel Stride. We were also joined by Ministers from the Department of Health and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Mr Speaker

Under the Chairmanship of Lord Ahmad we agreed commitments and obligations under the 2017 Communique for a cross-Whitehall approach to supporting the Territories. In particular, we agreed the following items:

  • Self Determination, particularly as it relates to the sovereignty claims of the Falklands Islands and Gibraltar;
  • Disaster Recovery, with the UK Government committing to put in place plans and structures for the longer term reconstruction and sustainable economic recovery for those Territories impacted by recent Hurricanes;
  • Environment and Climate Change, to ensure that the priorities of the Overseas Territories are reflected within negotiations at international fora;
  • Tax and Transparency, to review the effectiveness of the arrangements under the Exchange of Notes for law enforcement for the exchange of Beneficial Ownership Information;
  • Extension of the UN Convention Against Corruption to those Territories where it has not already been extended;
  • Governance, Human Rights and Child Safeguarding, where we have committed to Codes of Conduct on human rights institutions, sound public financial management and a strong effective and diverse public service. We reiterated our commitment for clear Codes of Conduct for Ministers, elected officials and civil servants where they do not already exist and to the highest standards for protection of children and promotion of children’s welfare.

We are encouraged by the overall support from the UK Department for Health in partnership with Public Health England, particularly their immediate involvement and support to those Territories impacted by recent Hurricanes, and to address concerns across all Territories with regard to obesity and mental health issues. We have also secured support from the UK Government to raise awareness of the importance of mental health issues.

Mr Speaker,

Within the margins of the JMC I engaged with other key MPs and Committees. The week commenced with a breakfast briefing with influencers who can uphold Bermuda’s global reputation regarding Tax and Transparency.

I was accompanied by Jeremy Cox, CEO of the Bermuda Monetary Authority [BMA], Bradley Kading, CEO of Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers [ABIR], and Ross Webber, CEO of Bermuda Business Development Agency [BDA].

Key influencers joining us included the Rt. Hon Dame Margaret Hodge MP, a British Labour politician and the key voice aligned with the Non-Government Organisation community on tax-transparency, and Kwasi Kwarteng, Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond.

We are confident that Bermuda’s team were able to successfully demonstrate that Bermuda is not a place to hide money, given its Common Reporting Standard [CRS] and Country by Country [CbC] automatic reporting regimes and membership in the OECD Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion & Profit Shifting [BEPS]. In addition, I was proud to sign the United Kingdom – Bermuda Country by Country Competent Authority Agreement while in London.

It is notable that Bermuda is the first and only Territory to enter into such an agreement with the UK.

Mr. Speaker,

I was also able to build relationships with the Chairman of the Committee on Exiting the European Union, the Rt. Hon Hilary Benn MP, and the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Tom Tugendhat MP, who is most keen to engage on behalf of and represent the issues of the Overseas Territories in the UK Parliament.

Mr. Speaker,

Our approach of high level engagement in the UK is the right and most effective one. It is my desire that this continues.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker

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Comments (11)

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  1. Ringmaster says:

    When do we get to hear of the cost of all these trips? When do we get to hear of jobs that the PLP are creating, not jobs created by the OBA and the PLP take credit for? When will the PLP MPs make life better for poorer Bermudians rather than for themselves? When will the PLP start the hard task of Governing rather then electioneering as the debt is rising, and revenues falling?

    • Zevon says:

      They plan to put together a committee to think about a plan to do this in 2025.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      How dare you question the government of the people. They were elected to govern, not to answer your silly questions!

  2. Spanner breath says:

    Pulled the woll over all ya eyes. And here to make it worsa for a couple more years.

  3. Charles says:

    Yes David, we’ve heard all this. Show us the jobs, tell us about the investment. I have not heard anything yet. Bitcoins, space industry, Miami links, Bermuda Standard, but nothing about jobs. Please give us some real news .

    • Coffee says:

      He doesn’t have to create the jobs … As promised the UBP / OBA created over two thousand jobs for Bermudians via the wildly successful Americas Cup sailboat race . Same goes for the overwhelming amount of inward investment in Bermuda . Bob Richards and Co . Didn’t lose the election , their dismal track record did .

      • Ringmaster says:

        AC35 did not and was never put forward to create 2,000 jobs. You clearly live in the new PLP space program world. Great, so in your mind all is good in Bermuda. You clearly haven’t read what MP Christopher Famous has said. He is correct. Basically Bermuda needs people. Since Bermudians are leaving Bermuda needs expats, but the PLP and Peoples Campaign stopped that. Replacing expats with Bermudians is the PLP solution, but it is not a solution. Talk to Mr Famous, you might learn something.

      • Charles M says:

        What does he have to do if he does not have to facilitate job creation? Give out pay rises?

  4. Doc says:

    Premier Burt you’re doing a great job
    Keep up the good work

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