Minister for Environment, Education and Culture John Cortes represented Gibraltar in London last week at a number of events and meetings, centred around the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) of the governments of the U.K. and the U.K. Overseas Territories (UKOTs).
On Tuesday morning Minister Cortes attended the Political Council of OT leaders where the policy decisions were taken for the items to be discussed with HMG later in the week.
That evening Minister Cortes attended a reception and dinner at the Speaker’s residence in Parliament where the new stained glass windows with the crests of all UKOTs and Crown Dependencies were unveiled.
The following day, at the invitation of the Speaker, a conference on Overseas Territories was held at Portcullis House in Westminster where Prof Cortes contributed to the section on the Environment and moderated the environmental session and discussion.
The main activity of the week was the JMC where there were sessions on the UK-OT relationship, law enforcement and irregular migration, economic and financial resilience, environment and climate change, healthcare, and maritime strategy. The meeting was attended by Premiers, Chief Ministers and Ministers from all the territories with a permanent human population, and by various UK Ministers, including lord Goldsmith, who chaired all the sessions, Lord Murray from the Home Office, Trudy Harrison the Parliamentary MP Under Secretary of State for Natural Environment and Land Use, and Will Quince MP, Minister of State for Health and Secondary Care.
HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, a great friend of Gibraltar and the other OTs, visited the event, and conversed with the leaders.
The JMC agreed to the final Communique which is attached.
As part if the programme the delegations attended a fund raising event for the restoration of the cricket ground at Anguilla, destroyed by a recent hurricane. The event was attended by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, cricket legend Sir Clive Lloyd and singer/songwriter Ellie Goulding.
During the week Minister Cortes held a number of 1:1 meetings including one with Minister for the Overseas Territories, Lord Goldsmith, and another with the Chief Minister of Jersey, Kristrina Moore. The meeting with Lord Goldsmith covered bilateral environmental matters, but also more general issues in relation to the Environment in all of the Overseas Territories, given that Prof Cortes chairs the Environmental Ministers’ Council if the UKOTs and Crown Dependencies. The meeting with Chief Minister Moore dealt mainly with both territories’ aspirations on climate change targets.