“Late last week, as Premier, I received a joint official communique on the critical matter of Brexit from Mr. Robin Walker, MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union and the Rt Hon Baroness Anelay, Minister of State for the Overseas Territories.
“The country would recall that I traveled to the UK for a Meeting on February 7, 2017 that was attended by Overseas Territories (OT) Leaders and representatives from all inhabited territories of HM Government of Gibraltar participating as observers. The UK OTs also used this opportunity to meet in its separate association (UKOTA) to share our immediate and individual concerns. The UK Government has since triggered Article 50 to begin the process for the UK to leave the EU. This process is expected to take about 2 years”, said Premier Hon. Sharlene Robinson.
She continued; “The Turks and Caicos Islands and all other OTs will be affected by this decision and we have already in the meeting of February 7th, 2017 shared our concerns with the Rt Hon Baroness Anelay and Mr. Robin Walker. The Turks and Caicos as a beneficiary of EU funding continues to have this as an immediate concern and to a lesser extent the freedom of movement. The UK had then and as recent as last week, has again committed to a dialogue with its OTs and it is proposed that this dialogue be managed through expert-level, sector specific roundtable meetings. The UK has set dates for the sector specific roundtables and Tracy Knight of the Premier’s London Office will attend on TCIG’s behalf.”
In addition to the technical round tables, the FCO will continue to hold discussions with OT representatives on wider policy issues and interests linked to EU exit, including OT priorities and options for their future relationship with the EU.
The Joint Ministerial Council Terms of Reference has been issued and the UK – Overseas Territories JMC on European Negotiations Framework for Technical Level Dialogue states that the aim of these round tables will be:
- To ensure that the UK Departments have comprehensive information on OT interests in relation to EU exit in areas of their policy competence;
- To understand OT desired outcomes on areas of EU negotiations that affect them;
- To develop further the technical papers produced on key issues in advance of the next meeting of the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC);
- To feed into development of UK policy and its evolution during the EU negotiation.
The UK Ministers and Territory Leaders have agreed to two further political meetings of the JMC in 2017.
“This is an important issue for the Turks and Caicos Islands and I will continue to update the people of these Islands on this issue as it develops.”