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UK MP calls for end to Foreign Office as OT messenger to UK Gov’t

- MP Alicia A. Kearns says OTs make their case best when their voices are heard
Leading the debates, MP Alicia A. Kearns representative for Rutland and Melton in a opening speech pointed out that while all OTs enjoy the right to self-determination as assured by the United Nations, deciding on having a constitutional relationship with the UK does not diminish their right to self-determination. Photo: House of Commons
While the Joint Ministerial Council for overseas territories gets underway today, May 11, 2023, legislators in London’s House of Commons this morning met to debate the future of UK overseas territories, including the [British] Virgin Islands. Photo: House of Commons
While the Joint Ministerial Council for overseas territories gets underway today, May 11, 2023, legislators in London’s House of Commons this morning met to debate the future of UK overseas territories, including the [British] Virgin Islands. Photo: House of Commons
LONDON, UK– While the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) for Overseas Territories (OTs) gets underway today, May 11, 2023, legislators in London’s House of Commons this morning met to debate the future of UK Overseas Territories, including the [British] Virgin Islands.

Leading the debates, MP Alicia A. Kearns, Representative for Rutland and Melton, in an opening speech pointed out that while all OTs enjoy the right to self-determination as assured by the United Nations, deciding on having a constitutional relationship with the UK does not diminish their right to self-determination. 

She added that the UK still has a role to play in supporting self-determination; therefore, OTs should be given to opportunity to have more voice when engaging with the UK. 

“Now, whilst Overseas Territories choose to remain part of our global family, that does not mean that we should blindly accept the status quo. We should challenge ourselves to provide the best possible support to their individual hopes and needs and strive to support them.

“To achieve this, we should embed engagement government across government directly with Overseas Territories. Rather than relying on all manners of priorities to be dealt with through the Foreign Office as some sort of arbiter, there is widespread frustration about just how difficult it is to engage in the most basic of dialogue with government departments.”

OT must make their own case - MP Kearns

MP Kearns added it is only right that Overseas Territories make their own case to government departments, rather than relying on the Foreign Office to act as messengers.

“They make their own case best when their voices are heard, this will also help tackle any lingering belief in paternalistic governance, and the Foreign Affairs Committee itself made this recommendation 2019, because neither the territories nor their citizens are foreign and therefore it's fundamentally odd to have them supported through the Foreign Office,” she said. 

Ms Kearns further urged the Government of the UK to drastically change how OT's are treated so they are not seen as neglected or subordinates.

“I would also urge the Minister to have all government departments update their strategies on the OTs because not one of them is less than a decade old, that cannot be right, we need to update the individual strategies,” she said.

29 Responses to “UK MP calls for end to Foreign Office as OT messenger to UK Gov’t ”

  • My girl (11/05/2023, 12:49) Like (20) Dislike (36) Reply
    The OTs are their own worst enemy. I prefer you deal with our affairs.Good morning
    • @My girl (11/05/2023, 13:17) Like (28) Dislike (8) Reply
      Do proper research and realize the OTs are handling their affairs far better than the UK but they brainwash some of us to always think otherwise.
      • jah (11/05/2023, 18:15) Like (20) Dislike (1) Reply
        Have you ever take a good look at the population and laws in the UK,then you should hush your mouth while typing your with the less population handling their affairs better and any over populated countries.
    • Citizen (11/05/2023, 15:15) Like (19) Dislike (5) Reply
      You are sick. Please move to the UK if you want to be governed by them.
  • Josiahsbay (11/05/2023, 12:55) Like (24) Dislike (11) Reply
    There will never be any kind of partnership between the VI and the UK until the UK gets out of our governance, constitution, and law-making. All of the things that they have given themselves control of can be done as an observer, mentor and adviser. Their meddling, intrusion and power asserting serves no purpose other than colonial control. The UN mandate states they should guide and assist us toward that goal.
  • Youth (11/05/2023, 13:20) Like (20) Dislike (10) Reply
    The position of Governor in all Overseas Territory needs to be an elected post. They need to be held accountable by the people and be held to the same standards as elected officials.
    • @ Youth.. Also. (11/05/2023, 16:03) Like (7) Dislike (6) Reply
      So should the speaker of the house. Then we wouldn't have this KOAS with old VS new. . How about making that at large person with the 5th most votes the speaker.. That should be the 5th person added to the house and that 5th person should automatically be made speaker. I see this as a fair process and avoid the Koas.. Something for future consideration. Base on my suggestion. Who is that person with the 5th most at large votes ?
  • My Take (11/05/2023, 13:23) Like (18) Dislike (5) Reply
    Having UK public Officers(non-elected) in charge of elected officials and each oversea territory is a retrograde step in democracy in the 21st Century. This needs to change immediately. They will only act in the best interest of the UK. They will never act in the best interest of the people of each Overseas Territories.
  • Clearly (11/05/2023, 13:25) Like (14) Dislike (10) Reply
    The current structure is a modern form of slavery. Our views and voices needs to be heard directly and not through a Governor and his office who will adjust our views to promote their intentions and not ours.
  • Former Senior Public Officer (11/05/2023, 13:29) Like (15) Dislike (5) Reply
    Things must change now. People need to know that if the Premier wants to speak with the UK Officials he must go through the Governor and his local office. This holds true for correspondences as well. However the Governor reports weekly to the UK without including the Premier. They can shape the image of a territory as good or bad to influence the UK's actions towards us to favor the Governor and other UK Public Officers' intentions for that Territory. This is not transparency nor good governance. It must change immediately.
  • UK resident (11/05/2023, 13:33) Like (19) Dislike (2) Reply
    The BVI and other OTs did not get much help from the UK with COVID except in the end with vaccines. The OTs handled the pandemic far better than the UK handled it and this is clear up to now where more & more my fellow UK residents are protesting and disgruntled. Life is hard in the UK and the people have loss confidence in leadership. OTs need to cherish what they have and build on it.
  • History (11/05/2023, 13:36) Like (13) Dislike (8) Reply
    Research countries where the UK was over and all will see they destroyed those places. Independence is a must now. They will always do or say something to make each OT feel they are not ready for independence when in fact each OT have been independent from a long time ago.
  • Bring Balance now (11/05/2023, 13:39) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
    The same way Governors have power to investigate anyone when ever they want including elected officials, the same must be allowed for Governors as in each OT there are strong rumors about alleged corruption by some Governors but the law does not allow Governors to be investigated when these concerns arise. There needs balance in this area now.
  • Accountability (11/05/2023, 13:44) Like (12) Dislike (1) Reply
    All Governors as well as all UK Officials working in each Overseas Territory needs to register their interest and bank account balances as well as their immediate family before, during, and after serving in each OT. This is the law for all local OT public officer & politicians and needs to be the same for UK Officials working locally in the OTs. Too much unexplained wealth is in question in this respect and is going unaddressed because there is no way to hold them accountable.
  • wake up (11/05/2023, 13:53) Like (12) Dislike (4) Reply
    People in each Overseas Territories please WAKE UP!!!!

    Stop letting these UK Officials who are not elected keep making us feel like they are our only hope when in fact corruption is running over in their leadership in the UK. We have to put accountability systems in place in each OT and let them work especially when these areas are deemed violated. We do not need a Governor who by law is above the law to make us think he is our only hope for a brighter future. No one should be above the law. We are our own saviors. They will always have us doubting ourselves as it is their strategy from slavery days. All they have done is modernize their strategy. In a diplomatic way all they are doing is trying to recolonialize each OT especially those with successful financial services industry. It is about the MONEY & not the PEOPLE!
  • Fairness (11/05/2023, 14:00) Like (15) Dislike (2) Reply
    The UK totally mishandled covid in the UK but refused to call a COI on themselves because they said they want to concentrate on saving lives and the economy and if is not in the. Est interest of the country to be bogg down with a COI at this time. However in the heat of Covid called one on BVI while our people and economy were dying. They used it as a plot to try to take over and still at it.
  • BVI LOVE NOTES (11/05/2023, 14:21) Like (9) Dislike (11) Reply
    Now that is what I call modern thinking, and creative leadership, going forward, changing the status quo. Ms Kearns is right on the button with this reasoning.
    But it's strange that she mentioned that it has been the idea of the Foreign Office from 2019. How come our leaders never express this to the local public but all the while keep harping about UK taking us back into slavery? Food for thought. Nevertheless, having the UK willing to give the OTs more flexibility and freedom to negotiate and problem solve is a plus for all, including the BVI.
    • Josiahsbay (11/05/2023, 18:54) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      I don't know what will happen if we were to go independent but I suspect that we will be ok. What I do know is it will never be right for us under the UK because their interest will always be more important to them than our interest.
  • reality (11/05/2023, 14:40) Like (11) Dislike (3) Reply
    The UK can never act in the best interest of any Caribbean OT as our cultural differences as well as our religious beliefs can never co-exist. Their aim is to eliminate all our heritage and turn each Caribbean OT into them. This is not and will never be in our best interest. This is the underlined problem which the UK careless about. Our leaders must stand up for our rights and what is right in each OT.
  • simple (11/05/2023, 14:44) Like (8) Dislike (2) Reply
    By 2024 the UK needs to assign each OT semi-inpendence to start the independence process to be completed within the next 5 years. Let the Caribean OT join with each other to form a federation. No more talk. We need action. Any parent worth their salt will be glad to see their child grow up and go on their own. This must be the concept of the UK with their OTs and stop using the old dirty but well organized tactics to always have the OT people having no confidence in their leadership thereby always looking to the UK as our saviors.
    • lodger (11/05/2023, 20:33) Like (1) Dislike (4) Reply
      So where were you in 1958 when the Caribbean Federation was formed? It soon collapsed because the countries could not agree among themselves. Same would probably happen again given the uninformed vitriol spouted by some in these blogs.
  • annudda2cents (11/05/2023, 15:37) Like (12) Dislike (3) Reply
    It is only a matter of time before the British Virgin Islands goes independent. Whether by will, whether by force, whether we have resources to sustain ourselves or not, it is only a matter of time. It is imperative that we put in place all the necessary laws, policies, institutions, and bilateral agreements with countries across the globe, that will facilitate the BVI being an independent nation. We have to get ready. It is only a matter of time before we face the reality of independence.
  • watch out (11/05/2023, 16:32) Like (7) Dislike (3) Reply
    The UK is coming with a new strategy, language & packing to accomplish their same old GLOBAL BRITAN MISSION. It is time to move on.
  • q (11/05/2023, 17:43) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    Mr Barry say you will hear!
  • down2earth (11/05/2023, 21:40) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    What she says sounds good, doesn't it? To come into the fold, -
    Would we have to pay taxes like those in England? Would we get a seat in parliament?

    A native Virgin Islander to the Nth generation
  • Political analyst (11/05/2023, 22:25) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    Clearly, the partnership between the UK and VI is one-sided with the UK Wielding unilateral power. It is promoted that the VI is self-governing. However, the facts do not bear this out. The supposed partnership is unequal giving the UK disproportionate governing power based on the UK-driven dependency-modeled constitution. It is more like master-slave, parent-child relationship. It is an open secret that the UK-appointed governor with no input from the BVI people is despatched to represent the interest of Crown/UK, not the interest of the BVI people. Regurgitating what the MP/commentary noted, the VI local government cannot communicate directly with ministries in the UK. Instead, any desired communication must be forwarded via the UK-appointed governor. The reality is there no transparency or information sharing, for the local government has no clue what the governor is telling the FCO. It is not a stretch to imagine that information forwarded to the FCO is filtered and cherry-picked to reflect the point of view(s) and interest of the UK-appointed governor, not necessarily reflecting the interest of the local government, reflecting an attitude and behavior perhaps that local government has no right that the UK and its officers must respect. The FCO is only getting one side of the story, ie, that of the governor. And we know that a coin has three sides, ie, the two sides and the edge of the coin. This situation reeks of Colonialism, an extractive, exploitive, expropriated, violent, exclusionary, racial supremacy, special privileges and entitled, upper class, enslaving, etc, institution. It seems like Mount Olympus still engages in Colonialism. Well, it never went away; it was just a mirage it may have lessened or had gone away altogether. By the way, UK officials like to claim the BVI as part of the UK family. So why does the BVI reports directly via the governor to Foreign and Commonwealth Office(FCO). Furthermore, the BVI has been under the UK umbrella and control since 1672 so if it is family why no attempt made to integrate it (BVI) into the UK? Well, no colony from its vast Empire has not been integrated into the UK. Is it because the majority of the people were not White?
    • FreedomOfMovement (12/05/2023, 07:15) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      All OT's should have a form of integration with the UK. Freedom of movement for all BOT & UK citizens throughout would be amazing.
  • perfect (12/05/2023, 06:55) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    Some of our own and our politicians are worse than the UK. In an Independent Virgin Islands they will be free to rape this country and run it into the ground without interference. It won’t be pretty.
  • Not a good start (12/05/2023, 07:53) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    This discussion in the UK is being done without our input. They speak as if we are their property and not as if we are people. The foundation of the discussions is continuing to go down the wrong road.

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