UKOT strategy on hold ahead of election

| 28/05/2024 | 16 Comments
Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly with members of the Shadow Cabinet, Anna McMorrin and Stephen Doughty

(CNS): Following Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s announcement that the UK general election will take place on 4 July, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office told all of the leaders of the overseas territories that work on the UK/Overseas Territories strategy had been halted pending the formation and direction of a new government.

Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, who has just returned from a trip to the UK, said the decision was neither surprising nor unexpected.

“I have shared this news with my government as well as the leader of the opposition, with whom I have been engaged since the signing of the Joint Declaration at the end of 2023,” she said. “It is my sincere hope that a new UK government will use the start of their administration to work with the overseas territories in a spirit of partnership and bilateral consultation to strengthen our relationship.”

O’Connor-Connolly’s meetings in Britain included at least one with some Labour Party shadow Cabinet members as well as officials from the current Conservative administration. The premier said the Cayman Islands Government remains committed to working closely with the UK to ensure the best outcomes for the Cayman people.

While the issue of beneficial ownership has reappeared on the Tory agenda, the pressure to implement a public register is likely to intensify after the elections, given the strong likelihood that the Labour Party led by Keir Starmer will form the next government.

This was O’Connor-Connolly’s first meeting with the current overseas territories minister, David Rutley, whom she met on the first day of the trip. The pair had discussed the need for consultation and broader engagement on the now suspended plan for the United Kingdom/Overseas Territories Strategy, home fees for Caymanian students in the United Kingdom, preparations and support for the upcoming hurricane season, support on national security and irregular migration issues, as well as the beneficial ownership register.

The following day, O’Connor-Connolly met with two members of the Labour Party’s Shadow Cabinet, Anna McMorrin and Stephen Doughty, the opposition’s spokesperson for the territories, to build relationships and exchange perspectives on a number of issues, and to continue the Cayman Islands policy of cross-party engagement.

“Against the backdrop of what has turned out to be an extraordinary week in United Kingdom politics, it was important to engage in meetings which strengthened relationships and mutual understanding,” the premier stated in a press release issued after her trip. “Our efforts to continue to tell our story to decision-makers in the United Kingdom are continuing to bear fruit. The Cayman Islands are a success story, and we are very proud of our many achievements across many areas.”

The general election announcement on Thursday by Sunak was a timely reminder that relationship building remains essential, the release stated.

O’Connor-Connolly also hosted a reception at the Palace of Westminster with members of the Cayman Islands All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) and other members of the Commons and the House of Lords. At that dinner she thanked the outgoing chair of the group, Sir Graham Brady, for his 27 years of friendship and support for the Cayman Islands.

“I am deeply honoured that despite their busy schedules, seven members of Parliament, including Minister Rutley and four peers joined us for an evening of fellowship and re-connection. I wish to acknowledge our UK representative, Dr Tasha Ebanks-Garcia, for her exceptional work in raising the Cayman Islands profile in London,” she continued.

Despite what were described as high-level meetings, including those on issues relating to Cayman’s critically important offshore sector, Financial Services Minister André Ebanks was not on the trip, nor were any of his policy advisors. The premier instead opted to take Planning Minister Jay Ebanks with her as well as his chief officer Eric Bush. It’s not clear why they were on the visit, but the release said that they sat in the Speaker’s Gallery at the House of Parliament with O’Connor-Connolly during Prime Minister’s Questions.

Cabinet Secretary Samuel Rose was also part of the delegation.

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Category: Politics

Comments (16)

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  1. Cayman last Generation says:

    Seeking and audience with those who jailed people for absolutely nothing in the UK post office scandal and NHS blood scandal where people died and became ill from negligence by the government system they managed and maintained speaks volumes Cayman. Which leads me to the other obvious point. why in the world are we getting or seeking guidance or advice from them. Are we that blind or tone deaf to the significance of both terrible situations. If they will do that to their own people what do think they will do to us?

    • Anonymous says:

      The Labour government to be, says it will stop subsidies to private schools.
      If that’s the case, what do you think they’ll do to beneficial ownership, and Cayman in general.?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Sunak’s surprise announcement caused a wasted trip. the Premier, Minister Jay Ebanks, Cabinet Secretary and others were in London for talks. So, in July, most of our Cabinet will have to return to London.

    Not that they mind the business class flights, VIP transportation, 5 star hotels…etc. at the public’s expense!

    Just saying!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I think Miss Julie is doing the wrong thing here, however I really, really dislike the disparaging remarks about her appearance. Are you all in grade school? I expect a response to my post of “neener neener” 🙁

    • Anonymous says:

      They are just having fun. If you don’t laugh, you cry… Oompa Loompa…

    • Anonymous says:

      “neener neener”

    • lil Bobo in East End says:

      I think the concern is that someone who obviously can’t take care of her own physical health and appearance is representing Cayman to the world.

      It actually matters.

      • Anonymous says:

        Of course it’s a concern, agree. I hope this level of juvenile harshness isn’t a representation of the majority of us.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Such intelligent comments. Did anyone read the article? This is why this country is going to the dogs… I call it the Marl Road effect.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Premier’s look is on fleek in this pic! Slay girl slay!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Sing it with me now….”We all live in a yellow submarine….”


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