(CNS): The politics of the UK imposing beneficial ownership registers on the territories and the constitutional fallout has been dominating Premier Alden McLaughlin’s visit to the UK this week but the matter of hurricane preparedness has also been high on the agenda. Given that some of the British Overseas Territories are still recovering from the impact of last year’s hurricanes, the leaders of the Caribbean BOTs were unified in their support for each other as the 2018 seasons begins. Cayman hosted a separate meeting with those leaders Tuesday, continuing on from a meeting in Miami earlier this year.
McLaughlin said that meeting was an opportunity for BOTs affected by natural disasters to come together and share knowledge and best practices. “We are able to use this forum to talk through shared challenges and developments,” he said.
Minister Tara Rivers said valuable lessons have been learned from the devastation caused to BVI, TCI and Anguilla last year, and that Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI), which she has responsibility for, had looked for ways to strengthen Cayman’s disaster preparedness, response and recovery plans and mechanisms.
“It’s clear that the commitment among the Caribbean OTs and Bermuda to continue to support one another during times such as these was recognised and appreciated,” she said. “Those who feel it know it. The collective approach to engaging with the UK Government on disaster management and recovery, which came about as a result of the meeting Cayman hosted in Miami last year, provided a good platform for future engagement and has yielded tangible results.”
Rivers said the territories expressed solidarity about supporting those affected by last year’s storms and the unified approach taken by the BOTs has had an impact on the UK Government’s approach to hurricane preparedness and disaster response in the region.
“I look forward to participating in future discussions with the minister responsible for the overseas territories to help establish a better coordinated approach and mechanisms for support,” she added.
During the bilateral meeting held with Cayman earlier in the week, Lord Ahmad indicated that he intends to convene a ministerial meeting, following the technical meeting planned in London later this month, to develop a suggested mechanism to strengthen the support of the Caribbean region territories during hurricane season and in the aftermath of devastating hurricanes.
Meanwhile, the pre-Joint Ministerial Council BOT heads of government meeting this week, which is held so that the territories can agree their agenda for the main event in November, also dealt with hurricane recovery and preparedness.