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Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council

Volume 603: debated on Tuesday 15 December 2015

I chaired the fourth meeting of the Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council in London on 1 and 2 December. The Council was attended by elected leaders and representatives—Anguilla, Ascension Island, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St Helena, Tristan da Cunha and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Key themes of this year’s Council were building the prosperity and economic development of the territories and protecting the most vulnerable members of their populations, especially children. UK ministers and overseas territory leaders also discussed pensions, health, education, sports, child safeguarding and the role of the environment in delivering prosperity.

The Council agreed a communiqué which identified priorities and set out a number of important commitments and areas for joint work in the year ahead. On the high priority issue of company transparency, the territories agreed to hold company beneficial ownership information in central registers or similarly effective systems and to work with UK law enforcement authorities to develop timely, safe and secure information exchange processes for the purposes of law enforcement. We also agreed that all territories that have not already done so will undertake child safeguarding reviews by the end of 2016.

The communiqué reflects the commitment of the Governments of the overseas territories and the UK to continue to work in partnership to achieve the vision set out in the June 2012 White Paper: “The Overseas Territories: Security, Success and Sustainability”.

In line with our commitment in the White Paper, we will continue to report to Parliament on progress in implementing the commitments in the communiqué by UK Government Departments.

A copy of the communiqué and a report on UK progress in meeting the commitments from the 2014 Joint Ministerial Council has been published on the gov.uk website:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/overseas-territories-joint-ministerial-council-2015-communique

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