Attorneys general from Britain’s Overseas Territories are meeting at their 20th annual conference, which opened on Tuesday morning in the Cayman Islands.
Attorneys general from Anguilla, BVI, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos, Pitcairn and the Cayman Islands will share issues they face, including escalating crime, with conference chair, the solicitor general for England and Wales and MP, Edward Garnier, QC, and other officials from the UK, and the Justice Departments of the US and Canada.
Acknowledging the special challenges that attorneys general face daily, Garnier noted the UK government's National Security Council meeting in July had confirmed the UK's fundamental policy and objective of ensuring the security and good governance of the 14 OTs.
Ministers recognised that the OTs "are remarkably diverse" requiring specifically tailored policies, he said.
Despite the sound constitutional arrangements between the UK and the OTs, Garnier said the two should jointly work to improve the link, strengthen mutual ties, good governance and financial management as well as the quality and range of support to the OTs.
He added the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Overseas Territories Department Director, Colin Roberts, would address delegates on how best to contribute to the ongoing consultation for finalising the new UK White Paper for the OTs.
Welcoming all, Cayman Islands governor, Duncan Taylor, attested to the vital contributions of attorneys general to their governments, given the diversity of subjects on which they have to provide advice.
Challenges faced by Cayman's attorney general and his chambers include maintenance of law and order, fine-tuning laws and regulating the complex financial services industry, as well as ensuring the Islands' new Bill of Rights takes effect properly, the governor said.
Looking forward to the conference's outcome, Minister of Health, Environment, Youth, Sports and Culture, Mark Scotland, highlighted the benefits of face to face meetings even in an electronically advancing world, especially among OT attorneys general who greatly influence the social, economic and political maturity of their territories.
South Pacific island Pitcairn's attorney general Paul Rishworth, representatives from the Departments of Justice, Lystra Blake (US) and Janet Henchey (Canada) and UK OT constitutional adviser, Ian Hendry, received special welcomes.
Not present at the conference are attorneys general from Bermuda, the South Atlantic Territories of St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, Falkland Islands and Gibraltar.