PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY CONNOR AT EXTRA LONDON MEETINGS Financial Assistance from DFID, Anguilla’s GDP and Sports etc.

anguillian
By anguillian November 21, 2016 12:40

 

 

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Chief Minister Victor Banks and Mr. Cardigan Connor in London

According to a set of minutes made available to The Anguillian, Mr. Cardigan Connor, Parliamentary Secretary with responsibility for Tourism, Sports and other assigned duties, represented the Government of Anguilla at a series of meetings in London, following the Joint Ministerial Council meeting.

He remained there for those meetings from November 8-13, following the departure of Chief Minister, Mr. Victor Banks, Minister Cora Richardson Hodge, Permanent Secretary, Finance, Dr. Aidan Harrigan and Government Sherpa, Mr. Fritz Smith.

Apart from the tourism meetings, reported elsewhere in this edition of The Anguillian, the minutes showed that Mr. Connor, held talks with officials at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development on November 9. He was accompanied at these and other meetings by Mrs. Blondell Cluff, the Government of Anguilla’s Representative to the United Kingdom and the European Union.

The particular minutes for November 9, read as follows:

“Both Mr. Connor and Mrs. Cluff succeeded in reinforcing Anguilla’s position as a UK Overseas Territory that is entitled to support from the UK Government as a matter of priority. They were assured that the UK’s Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Theresa May, had repeatedly referred to the Overseas Territories as being a UK priority…

“It was noted that a sizeable funding ‘envelope’ of 400 million pounds for the period 2016 to 2020 had been made available by DFID for the Caribbean with eight countries currently benefiting including Montserrat, Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia, Jamaica, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana and St. Vincent.

“The funding is designated to a set of programmes that include Governance, Climate Change and Economic Gro wth, each of which is of relevance to Anguilla. An infrastructure fund that supports the development of roads, ports and bridges, as recommended by the former Prime Minister, David Cameron, being distributed by grants as opposed to loans as a part of this initiative, has had an 80% take up rate to date. The desire to include otherwise marginalise people in opportunities arising from this work was sought by DFID as was an improved use of local resources.

“It was however, confirmed by DFID that Anguilla was not eligible for DFID support based upon their assessment of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Mrs. Cluff informed the meeting that the GDP of the UK was identical to that of Equatorial Guinea, one of the poorest countries in Africa, which demonstrated that it was not a sound basis for determining the development needs of a country. Moreover, as a UK Overseas Territory, Anguilla remains entitled to [a] ‘first call’ on DFID’s support. It was explained that the formula was not DFID’s, but one that had been imposed upon the department.”

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Mrs. Blondell Cluff

The minutes for November 9 continued: “Both Mr. Connor and Mrs. Cluff used the opportunity to enlighten DFID as to the issues facing Anguilla, including those that may arise from impaired movement of goods and services and people as a result of the UK’s departure from the European Union (Brexit). The fact that the EU provides Anguilla’s only source of budgetary aid, was also noted. Mr. Connor explained that serious problems were already being experienced by Anguilla and that the position was likely to deteriorate over time. DFID noted the position, and Mrs. Cluff undertook to provide DFID with a briefing note on the risks facing Anguilla, much of which could be staved off with support from DFID.

“After the meeting, some doubt was cast as to whether Anguilla’s GDP was in fact higher than that of some of the Caribbean countries currently benefitting from the DFID’s 400 million pounds support package, the majority of which are not entitled to first priority on DFID funding. It was noted that much of the funding had been allocated to the development of roads, many of which would link tourist destinations.

“The London Office undertook to carry out an assessment of the GDPs in question using the formula adopted by the UK Government, to brief DFID on Anguilla’s problems that are adversely affecting its economic development; and to liaise further with DFID, in particular Geraldine o’Callaghan and Debbie Palmer in the UK and Coleen Wainright in Barbados.”

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Sir. Gary Verity and Mr. Cardigan Connor at a meeting in London

The minutes further stated that on November 10, Mr. Connor and Mrs.Cluff met with CARICOM High Commission officials. Among other matters, Mr. Connor “recommended that the Caribbean should look to the promotion of regional tourism to hedge against the impact of international downturns. He urged that inter-Caribbean travel should be improved, citing the poor airlift in the region often resulting in visitors having to travel to America en route to a Caribbean destination.”

The minutes added: “On November 11, Mrs. Cluff hosted a breakfast meeting between Mr. Connor and Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, the tourist board of the UK’s largest county with a population of 5.3 million people. Sir Gary led a successful campaign for the ‘Grand Depart’ of the 2014 Tour de France, whose international profile as a tourist destination has risen significantly and sustainably since the introduction of the race. Sir Gary noted that the event was more than a sporting event but a means of achieving social cohesion whereby people that would normally interact with each other constructively were brought together to deliver the event that proved mutually beneficial for their community. Mr. Connor noted that along with the economic benefits there is also clearly a health legacy, where cycling and sport in general is promoted among the wider public by strategies such as the introduction of a community race before the main event.

“Sir Gary went on to expand on various cost-effective ancillary projects such as a cycle library where bicycles were recycled for use within the community. He urged Mr. Connor to consider a triathlon comprising swimming, cycling and running which had been a great success for Team Great Britain during the Rio Olympics. Mr. Connor expressed his desire to develop Anguillian talent for both the Commonwealth and Olympic games in the field of cycling. He gratefully accepted Sir Gary’s kind offer to assist Anguilla with developing the sport.”

anguillian
By anguillian November 21, 2016 12:40

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