ROADTOWN Tortola BVI, June 29th, 2012 -- Madam Speaker, I am indeed pleased that a new White Paper has been developed to speak to the relationship between the British Government and its Overseas Territories.
As a major nation of the world, the United Kingdom has had special relationships with many territories, large and small, most of which have over many years progressed to independence and are now Nations in their own right contributing to global commerce.
Many continue to have a relationship within the British Commonwealth.
There are others such as the BVI, much smaller which have retained that special relationship and are today known as Overseas Territories, and for whom that relationship continues to be important.
This relationship continues to evolve as the 14 territories seek more and more self-government within that framework. Public statements have been made from time to time about the evolution of that relationship such as are contained in the recently released White Paper.
The White paper developed and published prior to this one recognised the aspirations of the people of the territories in that regard and set out a partnership between the United Kingdom and the territories that spoke to that. And indeed it was within that context that we were able to negotiate a modern new constitution for the British Virgin Islands.
In this spirit, I welcome the new white paper and look forward to the continuing maturity of the BVI both economically and in its relationship with the United Kingdom.
As a Government, we are determined to carry out our responsibility to the people of the Territory in a transparent and accountable manner. Madam Speaker, we expect the relationship promulgated in this New White Paper to assist us in doing so, so that this Territory continues to grow.
Finally, Madam Speaker, while we are aware of our responsibilities within this Partnership, we also expect that during this redefined relationship that the gains that we have made politically and constitutionally as a Territory over the past decades will continue to be improved upon.
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