Chief Islander and Prime Minister Boris Johnson take part

Tristan to the fore at the OT Joint Ministerial Council

2020 Virtual Overseas Territories Join Ministerial Council

Reports and images from Tristan Government UK Representative Chris Carnegy
and UK Government sources

The 2020 Overseas Territories Join Ministerial Council was joined by Chris Carnegy and, direct from Tristan da Cunha for the first time, Chief Islander James Glass.

The Joint Ministerial Council is being held over four days from Monday 23rd to Thursday 26th November 2020.

On Monday 23rd November Tristan Chief Islander James Glass led the opening session with a prayer.
James is a Lay Minister in St Joseph's Roman Catholic Church on the island.

PM reiterates commitment to Overseas Territories

The Prime Minister addressed leaders of the Overseas Territories on Tuesday 24th November as part of the UK-Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council (JMC).

He set out the UK’s unwavering commitment to supporting the Overseas Territories as they deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Prime Minister also reiterated the UK’s intention to strengthen ties with the Overseas Territories as the Transition Period ends and build a new relationship with our European friends and partners.

Recalling his visits to Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands in 2017 following Hurricane Irma, the Prime Minister affirmed that the UK will always stand by the Overseas Territories in any crisis they face.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Addressing the JMC, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

Do not forget that the UK is absolutely committed to you, to your futures and to our partnership.

As we go forward and recover from this pandemic, we want to make sure that we build back greener and that we look after island economies that are so vulnerable to climate change.

In spite of everything, of the difficulties we are going through, we remember that we are united by deep ties of kinship and friendship and history and values. We in the UK government are going to make sure we continue to intensify that partnership.

The then Overseas Territories Minister Baroness Liz Sugg pictured during the first day's session on 23rd November.

Message from Baroness Liz Sugg*

A message from Baroness Liz Sugg Minister responsible for Overseas Territories in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office made while she was still in post on Tuesday 24th November.

The Overseas Territories are a much-cherished part of the British family. Tristan da Cunha is no exception.

This is why, as the Minister responsible for the Overseas Territories in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, I am pleased to chair the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC).

The JMC is an opportunity for leaders across the Overseas Territories to come together, including Tristan's Chief Islander James Glass.

This year, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson joined the council, to show the importance he puts on our relationship with the Overseas Territories.

At the JMC, we celebrate the special partnership between the UK and the Overseas Territories. It is an opportunity to set out the shared priorities and to have a dialogue on a number of diverse topics.

Over the years, we have forged modern partnerships, based on shared interests and values including ocean conservation which has led to the creation of Tristan da Cunha's vast Marine Protection Zone (MPZ). The UK government remains committed to those partnerships, and to working with you and your governments so that your communities flourish as modern, prosperous and strong democracies.

The UK Government takes its responsibilities towards the Overseas Territories extremely seriously. Whether that means defending you from threats, providing aid for essential services, helping you preserve your natural environment, or supporting you in times of crisis - as we have with COVID-19.

Right now, we face huge global challenges, but we face them together.

This year, Coronavirus has impacted us all, especially where tourism is a key economic pillar or in communities which are already geographically isolated. I would like to congratulate the Government and the people of Tristan da Cunha on your handling of the pandemic so far - you have remained fully free of the virus and OTs generally have seen some of the lowest infection rates in the world.

I am proud the UK has stood by you in providing a huge amount of support to your healthcare systems, including provision of pandemic supplies for the Camogli Healthcare Centre. We have also seen great successes this year. A UK-funded team has removed all landmines from the Falklands, meaning there are now no anti-personnel land mines anywhere on British soil. And we saw a worldwide welcome for the Tristan MPZ.

This is why the Joint Ministerial Council has come at such an important time in our partnership. Now more than ever, we have important issues to discuss as we ensure that we work together in the best interests of the people of all the Overseas Territories, including Tristan da Cunha.

* Baroness Sugg resigned her post in the government on Wednesday 25th November 2020 after Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that the Foreign Aid Budget target would be reduced from 0.7% to 0.5% of total national income for 2021 following the negative effect of Covid-19 on UK finances.