By anguillian November 14, 2016 12:16




L-R: Mr. Evans McNiel Rogers, Chief Minister Victor Banks and Mr. Curtis Richardson

Some pertinent information was released at a Government of Anguilla press conference on Tuesday this week in connection with the just-ended Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) meeting in London.
The gathering included an Anguillian delegation, led by Chief Minister, Mr. Victor Banks; several other delegations from the Overseas Territories; UK Ministers including the new Minister of State with responsibility for Overseas Territories, Baroness Anelay, and other officials.
Mr. Banks told media representatives that a number of matters, in relation to Anguilla, were discussed during bilateral talks with him and other members of his delegation.

“We had bilateral talks with the Minister and a number of her officials,” the Chief Minister reported. “We discussed a number of issues affecting Anguilla. We raised the banking issue, infrastructural development and the special circumstances of Anguilla relating to our relationship with French St. Martin and Dutch St. Maarten – and how Brexit would impact that relationship in the future.”

He continued: “A very encouraging development was the new CSS Fund initiative, that was started by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which is providing some twenty million pounds per year specifically for the Overseas Territories. The Government of Anguilla has already benefitted from a number of projects under this Fund, to the extent that our Infrastructure Adviser will be funded out of that [money] and also the new port development project at Sandy Ground which we think will be in the region of some five to seven million pounds. This will be one of the first projects to be undertaken under this Fund.

“I had an opportunity to sign a MOU on that matter. I also signed a MOU on the consultations to make the business case for the expansion of the airport. All in all, I believe that the Anguilla delegation performed exceptionally well.

“We also raised the case on a petition on the ‘Blue Belt’ initiative, and indicated that the Government of Anguilla was not comfortable being a part of that initiative – to the extent that we have legislation in place. We have marine protected areas already designated, and are well on our way to taking into account those considerations that were inherent in the ‘Blue Belt’ initiative.”

Mr. Banks described the ‘Blue Belt’ initiative as: “an initiative put forward by the British Government that its Overseas Territories should designate a considerable amount of ocean territories as marine protected areas.”

He stated that the Anguilla Government had “considerable concerns about how the UK Government’s initiative would impact our desire to get involved in the exploration of our 200 mile inclusive economic zone for the development of fishing and other enterprises.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Banks said that during the regular JMC meetings, Anguilla and the other Overseas Territories undertook, with the agreement of the British Government, to meet early next year to discuss and list a range of concerns they have. Principally among those concerns will be matters which the territories are of the view would affect them when the United Kingdom formally exits the European Union.

One of Anguilla’s concerns is the protection of its longstanding relationship and interaction with French St. Martin and Dutch St. Maarten.

Chief Minister Banks was accompanied at the Government’s press conference by the Minister of Social Development, Mr. Evans McNiel Rogers, and the Minister of Infrastructure, Mr. Curtis Richardson, both of whom spoke on separate matters relating to their portfolios.

The delegation which Mr. Banks led to the London for the JMC meeting, comprised Minister of Home Affairs, Mrs. Cora Hodge-Richardson; Parliamentary Secretary, Mr. Cardigan Hodge; Permanent Secretary, Finance, Dr. Aidan Harrigan; and Mr. Fritz Smith as the Government’s Sherpa.

By anguillian November 14, 2016 12:16


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