Op Ed from HE the Governor Christina Scott

By anguillian November 28, 2014 09:32



Governor Christina Scott

Governor Christina Scott

Next week, I will again join the Chief Minister as part of the delegation from Anguilla attending the third annual Joint Ministerial Council, in London. The Council brings together leaders from all of the Overseas Territories to discuss areas of mutual concern. Once again, Leaders will measure progress from last year’s meeting, and agree commitments for the coming year, to be outlined in a public joint communiqué.

The Chief Minister will meet the new FCO Minister for the Overseas Territories, James Duddridge, for a discussion specifically about Anguilla. He will have talks with DFID Minister, Desmond Swayne. The JMC also aims to bring representatives together to discuss how to best deliver the ambitions of elected leaders. It is hoped that the meetings will enhance understanding, and help develop the partnership the British Prime Minister is committed to.
The discussions will take place in the context of the fundamental but difficult economic question governments across the world face: how best to allocate scarce resources to improve the welfare and security of the people they represent. With this in mind, participants have agreed that prosperity should again be the main theme. We will be discussing the Financial Services Industry and the sustainable economic development of the natural environment. An investment forum will seek to develop links between the territories and British business.

In other sessions, delegations will have the opportunity to discuss migration, passports, prisons, the police and health. I believe all governments, and the public services that support them, must continually challenge themselves in these areas. How well do the existing laws, procedures and delivery standards serve individuals and business owners and enable them to prosper? Do they encourage or discourage new overseas investment, and more tourists? Can we increase our efficiency to ensure better value for money when spending public funds? How can new technologies deliver better services? What are our priorities? If we take spending decisions wisely, and deliver public services well, we will help to provide the foundation on which the private sector can thrive and create more jobs.
At the same time, the Joint Ministerial Council is an opportunity to reflect on the unique and very special relationship that links the Territories with the UK. The UK and the Overseas Territories continue to build a modern relationship based on mutual benefits and responsibilities, and the right of the people of each Territory to freely choose whether to remain a British Overseas Territory or to seek an alternative future.

As the Prime Minister stated in the forward to the 2012 White Paper, “This Government is ambitious for our Territories as we are ambitious for the United Kingdom. We want to see the Territories’ communities flourish, with strong and sustainable local economies and world-class stewardship of their extraordinary natural environments”.

So I am pleased that over the past year I have had the chance to work with Ministers on ensuring the best possible use of the almost EC $13 million capital grant that the UK provided Anguilla a year ago. That has provided us with a new fire truck, and allowed us to order new police vehicles. It is helping to deliver infrastructure improvements in our primary schools. And I am pleased that Ministers have ambitious plans for the sums remaining.

The UK has also invested in the human capital of Anguilla’s public service, paying for training on issues as diverse as gender awareness and close protection. And we have supported the development of staff, for example arranging secondments to build expertise in our police and prison, to support trade and investment, and to ensure our airport security managers keep us safe.
We have worked to support those keen to see a flourishing civil society, for example by funding media training, supporting HIV/AIDS awareness and testing, and supporting the Anguilla Nurses Association to send staff to a regional training conference.
The Darwin Plus fund, funded by the UK, has continued to provide technical expertise for environmental projects in Anguilla, helping to protect our rich and internationally important biodiversity and to raise awareness of the economic benefits of sound environmental management.

I welcome also the fact that the Chief Minister and Leader of the Opposition have both agreed that the forthcoming elections here in Anguilla should have independent observers from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, funded by the UK, to help ensure elections are free and fair.

And in recent days, as we get news that Anguilla’s summer visitor, HMS Argyll, has made another significant drugs seizure, we are reminded of the support that comes from the Royal Navy, helping local police forces to combat drug trafficking, illegal fishing and illegal immigration in the Territories.

All these, and more, are practical examples of the UK and the Government of Anguilla working together to improve the welfare and security of the people of Anguilla. It is my hope that honest, open and substantive talks in London in the coming week will enable all of us representing and working for Anguilla to work together for everyone in Anguilla, as we move towards 2015.


By anguillian November 28, 2014 09:32


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