STATEMENT BY THE RT HON LORD GOLDSMITH
THE MINISTER FOR OVERSEAS TERRITORIES, COMMONWEALTH, ENERGY, CLIMATE AND ENVIRONMENT
AT THE FOREIGN, COMMONWEALTH & DEVELOPMENT OFFICE (FCDO)
REGARDING HIS VISIT TO THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
FEBRUARY 2, 2023
I have so enjoyed being here in the British Virgin Islands – meeting elected representatives, officials and community members from right across the Territory.
And I’ve also been able to get out and about, both in Tortola and today in Anegada.
The beauty of these islands and the natural riches you have here are nothing short of amazing. I’m honoured to be the first UK Minister to visit Anegada in a very long time. I may even be the first ever!
Three things have struck me in particular from all of my meetings and discussions over the last two days.
The first is that we are building a stronger, modern partnership between the UK and the BVI—and that applies not only to the UK’s commitment to ensuring the safety and security of this beautiful Territory. It also applies in other areas like health, education and energy reform, where there is room for a stronger and better partnership—sharing best practice, technical expertise, encouraging investment into the Territory.
And it’s great to be at the marina today to announce that the UK has funded four new Rigid Inflatable Boats for the Police which will provide a real boost to their capability.
Secondly, the strength of the commitment I’ve heard from the Premier and his Cabinet to promoting good governance and carrying out the reforms in line with the Commission of Inquiry.
I know of course that some of that work isn’t easy and that there is much still to do.
The Premier made clear his strength of feeling about the Order in Council and we too want see these reforms seen through, such that the Order can be lifted.
I assure you I will continue to support the British Virgin Islands both in the next few months and after the general election in taking these reforms forward, so that we can realise the Premier’s vision of the BVI as a beacon of democracy.
Thirdly, I’ve been privileged to learn more about the environmental work currently being carried out here, from mangrove restoration at the college to work to protect your extraordinary coral reefs.
Protecting the environment and building resilience in the face of Climate Change are vital to the future of the people here in the BVI and across the world.
As Minister for the Climate and Environment, as well as the Overseas Territories, I’m excited by the energy, enthusiasm and commitment I’ve seen here from so many people to that goal.
Finally, I want to thank you for having me here, for your welcome and your amazing hospitality.