Tuesday, November 28, 2006

BVI Keeps its Place in the Top List of Foreign Investors in HCM City

Ho Chi Minh City officials have reported on a four-fold increase in foreign direct investments in the city's economy. This year HCM City has so far licensed 215 foreign invested projects valued at US$1.37 billion. These figures include 163 wholly foreign-invested projects, with a combined investment capital of about US$768 million, 49 joint-venture projects with US$589 million, and three co-operative contracts that are worth over US$14 million.

The results confirmed strong positions of the British Virgin Islands, which were among the first five foreign investors' countries in Ho Chi Minh City during the first seven months of the year 2006. In accordance to the seven month results, the British Virgin Islands invested into the 7 projects, with US$36,5 million. Currently, being the investor of 10 projects, BVI rank between Taiwan, with 16 projects, and Hong Kong with 4.

First places in the list of foreign investors are occupied by the closest neighbours of Vietnam - the Republic of Korea, with 51 projects valued at US$102,7 million, and Japan with 37 projects.

The largest amount of projects is in the industrial sector, followed by the sector of real estate development and consultation services. Other sectors that gained popularity among the investors are the construction sector and the transport sector.

Ho Chi Minh City also licensed 102 operating foreign-invested projects to increase investment capital; so far the total new and added investment in the city this year has reached over US$2 billion, 3,4 times over the corresponding period last year.

Now there are 2,014 foreign invested projects operating in the city with a combined investment of nearly US$13.9 billion, increases of 230 projects and US$1.87 billion against 2005.

Monday, November 27, 2006

OTCC meeting in London

On November 21-22, 2006, the Overseas Territories Consultative Council (OTCC) held its 8th meeting in London at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Corruption. Among the issues to discuss on the agenda were good governance, criminal justice, human rights and climate change.

Established in 1999, the Overseas Territories Consultative Council is held in London every year to provide a forum for consultation with British Government Ministers. The meeting was attended by Premiers, Chief Ministers and other senior politicians from Britain's Overseas Territories, except Gibraltar.

Overseas Territories Minister in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Lord Triesman, who hosted the 8th meeting of the Council, emphasized the importance of the event. He was delighted with the productivity of the discussions. By the way, it is the 2nd time when the meeting was hosted by Lord David Triesman. The BVI delegation included Director of the BVI London Office Ms. Dawn Smith, 7th District Representative Dr. Kedrick Pickering (also the Team BVI founding member), Permanent Secretary in the Chief Minister’s Office Mr. Clyde Lettsome and Executive Director of the BVI International Affairs Secretariat Mrs. Lorna Smith.

The annual OTCC meeting was also attended by Chief Minister Dr. D. Orlando Smith and Governor David Pearey.

Both UK and Overseas Territories representatives agreed that the UN Convention Against Corruption would be extended to the Overseas Territories as early as possible. The BVI had already expressed its agreement, and the other territories also suggested their agreement to work together on implementing a strategy for each of the Overseas Territories to integrate the work of all the parties in the criminal justice system.

Besides the British Virgin Islands, the territories represented at the OTCC were Anguilla, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, St Helena, Ascension Island, Pitcairn, Turks and Caicos Islands and Montserrat.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Deloitte Announces on Establishing Caribbean/Bermuda Cluster

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu chief executive William G. Parrett in the middle of October has reported that six Deloitte member firms have intention to join together to create Deloitte Caribbean/Bermuda. The announcement was made at the inaugural Deloitte Global Forum in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The above-mentioned members of Deloitte, which is globally known auditing and professional services firm, are located in the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and Jamaica. The plan for the cluster of offices has the purpose to strengthen their position in the Big Four firm's Americas region, while expanding opportunities for growth.

Creation of this structure followed the establishment of Deloitte LATCO that includes member firms from Latin American Countries, and Deloitte ASEAN containing member firms from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Guam. Deloitte Caribbean/Bermuda will include more than 30 partners and 600 professionals and will be leaded by Frank Paredes, the audit and risk regional managing partner of Deloitte Latin America/Caribbean. Daily operations will be conducted by the managing partners of existing member firms.

Frank Paredes said that the structure would help reduce many of the difficulties connected with coordination of service activities across borders by separate member firms, and that Deloitte Caribbean/Bermuda plans to expand operations to other countries of the region.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

BVI Again the Second in the Chinese Foreign Direct Investors Rating

The Ministry of Commerce of China has announced on last Wednesday that realized foreign direct investment (FDI) on the territory rose in October, after the slight decline which took place in the previous months and was the result of the changes in legislation about acquisition of Chinese companies by foreign investors.

In October the amount of foreign direct investments grew 16% to US$5.99 billion, and 3,047 foreign-invested ventures were approved. From January to October, the country attracted US$48.58 billion in FDI – up 0.34% if compared to this period of 2005. During the same period 33,068 foreign-invested enterprises were approved, down 6.32% from the previous year. The amounts of contracted FDI were not revealed in the report.

From the Ministry's report it also becomes clear that the British Virgin Islands continue to keep their position of the second largest foreign investor in China. The 2nd leading position of BVI has been already confirmed in the first two quarters of the year 2006, each time China published the updated information on FDI. The first place is with Hong Kong – the Special Administrative Region of China.

In the current report, Hong Kong remains the first among the foreign direct investors, and it is followed by the British Virgin Islands and Japan.

Gao Hong, a researcher from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, has said that the total FDI amount, compared to the last year, increased very slightly, but the average value of each investment rose a lot. This is probably the result of Chinese government's policy of paying more attention to the quality of foreign investments than to the quantity.

Investment flows to the financial sector, which have been a major destination of FDI since last year, were not included in the figures released by the commerce ministry.

Monday, November 20, 2006

CEO of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission David Iverson to Explain the New Telecommunications Act 2006

Mr. David Iverson, recently appointed to be the first CEO of the new Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, will give comments and explanations of the new Telecommunication Act 2006 and the liberalization of telecommunications in the BVI. The luncheon organized by BVI Chambers of Commerce & Hotel Association (BVICCHA) where Mr. Iverson is invited as the guest speaker will be held on November 22. The arrangement will be sponsored by Cable and Wireless, which has recently reported on preparing numerous exciting products and services that would be introduced to the British Virgin Islands.

The BVICCHA invites to the luncheon all interested persons who wish to be informed on the Telecommunication Act 2006, and, moreover, to hear first-hand details from Mr. Iverson. All the guests will have the opportunity to ask questions concerning the Act and related issues. The time for networking will start from 12.00pm, and lunch will be served at 12.30pm.

The BVI Chambers of Commerce and Hotel Association is the largest civil society organization in the territory, which includes representatives of the business community and hotel industry sector, both from the BVI and from other countries. The association was created with the general purpose to actively promote a positive business and social environment, for the benefit of the territory, sustaining the unique advantages of the BVI. Some of the CCHA community works include: the Spring Regatta, BUYBVI Trade Show, Junior Achievement, Right Start programs and the Culinary program. Now this private sector organization accounts 250 members.

The BVICCHA regularly holds luncheons at member establishments, which can add to the competitive and strategic positioning of the BVI businesses in the local and international environment.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Conyers Dill & Pearman Establishes its Middle East Office in Dubai International Financial Centre

It was already discussed in previous posts in connection with Conyers Dill & Pearman law firm that BVI offshore services can achieve more popularity in the countries of the Arabian world. Quickly expanding construction business, the boom of the infrastructure projects and related financings, are expected to provide major opportunities for offshore law firms having business in this region. Conyers Dill & Pearman, which is the leading offshore law firm and one of the major players in the BVI, has celebrated on November 14 the opening of its Middle East office with a reception office at the Emirates Towers. The company's new office is based at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

Conyers Dill & Pearman specialises in company and commercial law, commercial litigation and private client matters. The firm offers comprehensive multi-jurisdictional offshore legal services and actually is the introducer of concept of multi-jurisdictional offshore law. It is the only law firm in the region to provide advice on the laws of British Virgin Islands, Bermuda and Cayman Islands.

The British Virgin Islands has proved to be a popular jurisdiction for holding companies as well as a preferred jurisdiction for joint venture vehicles, while Bermuda and the Cayman Islands have very active shipping and aircraft registries.

The Middle East office of Conyers Dill & Pearman will start with consultations on corporate and commercial law, cross-border investment funds (hedge funds, private equity and venture capital funds), project financings and securities.

It is managed by partner Roger Burgess. In his comments he said, “We have decided that the Middle East is a region where we need to be and we are committed to the region for the long-term ... The Middle East has traditionally been underinsured, and as development continues apace, demand for sophisticated insurance products will grow considerably. Given our expertise in the offshore insurance market, we expect to become involved in this line of business … With the experience we bring to the region we will also be looking to play a role in the development of Islamic insurance products.”

Non-Smoking Measures Passed by BVI Legislative Council

Important information for smokers traveling to the BVI.

The British Virgin Islands' Legislative Council unanimously passed the Tobacco Control Act on November 15, 2006. According to this Act, smoking will be banned in public places in the BVI, including offices, restaurants, bars, etc. People will not be allowed to smoke in enclosed public places or within 50 feet (15 meters) of a door or window to such a place.

The Tobacco Control Act will also regulate the promotion, distribution and use of tobacco products in the British Virgin Islands. The measures implemented ban selling tobacco to minors and give the authority to regulate tobacco advertising and sales to the government. The smokers will be given a six-month period to adjust to the ban measures.

These restrictions are implemented despite concerns about their effect on tourism in BVI. Ronnie Skelton, the British territory's minister of health and social development, has commented on the objections that "The concern for public health obviously outweighs any of the other concerns''.

Presenting the bill for its second and third reading, Mr. Skelton said he was happy that the bill got the needed support to pass through Legislative Council. The new measure will soon be signed by Gov. David Pearey. The government still has to determine the penalties for violations.

It should be noted that some other territories, including Puerto Rico and Bermuda, have recently imposed prohibitions on smoking.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Team BVI Participates in High Level Media and Presentation Training Session

Team BVI has actively started their mission and here is another news from BVI IFC.

Last week the British Virgin Islands International Finance Centre enlisted Sally Eden, which is top BBC News 24 business presenter, for management coaching. She will provide high level media and presentation training, for the BVI key spokesmen including members of Team BVI, officially launched last month.

The IFC sponsored training initiative last week comprised professionals and senior practitioners from the private sector, including Team BVI and members of the IFC's Marketing Advisory Committee, as well as FSC representatives and Government officials. A total of 17 delegates participated in the training arrangement which took place on November 6 – 10. Coaching and training sessions generally included theoretical and practical modules on public speaking and presentation skills; all delegates were practicing in media interview techniques and the introduction of broader management-skills development.

Sally Eden has commented on her assignment and work at the IFC's offices in Road Town:

“Research shows that, when listening to someone speak, more than 90% of what we take on board is through non-verbal communication – body language, the tone, speed and pitch of the voice. In high-level seminars, briefings and conferences such as the ones Team BVI and others representing the jurisdiction will be involved with going forward, it’s vital that as well as the content, the non-verbal communication helps get the message across.”

Humphry Leue, Chief Operating Officer at the BVI IFC, has commented:

“The media training and presentation coaching initiative has proved to be invaluable, particularly in advance of the IFC’s investment business seminar in London on the 15th November where several of the participants in this initiative will be making presentations and giving media interviews. We have received extremely positive feedback from all those that participated and we will be looking to host further sessions next year.

“Through initiatives like this, the IFC is attempting to provide high value, practical support to the public and private sectors in our joint efforts to promulgate the jurisdiction and its successes in the financial services arena on the international stage.”

Monday, November 13, 2006

British Virgin Islands Address London Mutual and Hedge Fund Industry Executives

After announcing the official launch of 'Team BVI', British Virgin Islands International Finance Centre is arranging a seminar for London-based executives in the mutual and hedge fund industries. The event has the purpose to find the way how to bring the London market up to speed with the rapid growth of the BVI's investment business industry, its regulatory environment and current trends and opportunities in offshore finance. The answer is expected to be found during the seminar, which will take place on Wednesday 15th November.

The seminar will feature speakers from both Public and Private sectors, including Regulators.

The seminar speakers will be Lorna Smith (Executive Director of the BVI IFC), Robert Mathavious (Managing Director & CEO of the BVI FSC), Ruth Chadwick (Director of Investment Business at the BVI FSC), Mark Chapman (Managing Partner at Deloitte, BVI and "Team BVI" founding member), Kieron O'Rourke (Partner & Head of the Investment Funds Practice of Harneys , BVI), Mark Lancaster (Director of New Business Development of Fortis Prime Funds Solutions, BVI).

Humphry A. Leue, Chief Operating Operator at the BVI International Finance Centre, comments:

"The British Virgin Islands has enjoyed a long and fruitful working relationship with the London business and professional community and we are delighted to be back in London to update this sector of the market on the BVI’s international financial services offer.

The BVI has developed into a strong, well established offshore jurisdiction for investment businesses, with a recent survey ranking it as the second most popular hedge fund domicile with approximately 10% of the global market. The BVI boasts over 2,500 funds with an estimated asset value of well over €100bn, drawing upon the support of some 500 managers and administrators licensed to provide fund support services in the Territory.

The securities and investment business sector remains a central part of our plans to further establish the BVI as a leading and well regulated jurisdiction for international financial services and we see the London professional community as a crucial element to this continued growth. We look forward to presenting and discussing these issues with key practitioners in London on November 15th."

Friday, November 10, 2006

BVI Finance Ministry Offers 2007 Budget Considering Economic Growth on the Territory

Minister for Finance of the BVI Honourable Ronnie W.Skelton has reported that the BVI Government has ended the year with a surplus above recurrent expenditures in excess of $30 million. The announcement was made on November 7, when the Minister delivered the 2007 Budget address before a packed audience at the Legislative Council Chambers. He also named the two major factors which caused the surplus: first, Government's ongoing commitment to fiscal responsibility and strategic management of the people's money, and second, strong and rapidly developing economy of the BVI, which this year posted an impressive growth rate over 7%.

Hon. Skelton also provided information on Government plans to contribute approximately $17 m to the BVI reserve fund and approximately $4.5 m for the pension, emergency and disaster contingencies, repair and renewal funds. He said that Government will still have $25 m left for major development projects including sewerage, roads and rehabilitation of schools.

Revenue collection for 2007 is expected to be at $254.02 million, while recurrent expenditure is budgeted at $222.39 million. That means that total revenue collection anticipated in the proposed 2007 budget is $20 million more than the 2006 figure.

The Finance Minister has also announced as a top priority of the BVI Government taking strong measures to struggle with the rising cost of living in the Territory, and the expansion of Government's tax-relief efforts, namely, increasing the tax-exemption level from $7,500 to $10,000.

Other Government measures will include implementing two steps to lower prices on goods sold at businesses. Hon. Skelton has informed on the expected introduction of two-tier customs duty system that will allow businesses to import goods at discounted rates and a special duty reduction on construction materials. He said that this measure will allow savings to be passed on to consumers in the form of lower prices. In support of this initiative, Government will establish a special Cost of Living Committee under the Ministry of Finance, in order to ensure that citizens are not adversely affected by rising prices.

Other Government plans include the continued upgrading the Territory's beach infrastructure, complete purchase of the Virgin Gorda Airport, constructing a visitor centre on Anegada lands and other projects.

Hon. Skelton defined the goal of the 2007 budget as submitting a record of achievement before the judgment of all, to ensure that the promises made are the promises that have been kept.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Official Launch of 'Team BVI'

The BVI International Finance Centre has announced the official launch of 'Team BVI' – a dynamic unit of ambassadors from public and private sectors, to be the face and voice of the BVI financial services brand. The announcement followed the inaugural meeting of the 15 founding members of Team BVI, which took place earlier last month.

Team BVI members are drawn from Government, the Regulator's office and the Private Sector; they will work together to voice the Territory's competitive financial products and services and represent the BVI at some public forums. Team BVI will also be responsible for involving the broader financial services sector in the jurisdiction's marketing activities. This is a unique marketing initiative to create a competitive advantage by presenting the Territory as a modern and progressive jurisdiction.

Humphry A. Leue, Chief Operations Officer at the BVI International Finance Centre, the department behind Team BVI, explains: "Our intention is to build a team of spokespeople that will represent the jurisdiction and its successes on the international stage. Importantly, Team BVI is not a closed shop, far from it. Whilst there are 15 founding members, we will actively seek the assistance and expertise of the entire financial services sector in a collective push to showcase the jurisdiction’s leading offshore finance offer. In addition, the Financial Services Marketing Advisory Committee will continue to assist and advise the IFC in the research and development of our marketing strategy, and several MAC members are also founding members are also members of Team BVI."

Hon Dr. Kedrick Pickering, member of the BVI Government’s Caucus group and a Team BVI founding member, comments: "The BVI has a proud and long-standing tradition of public and private sector partnership. By formalising this working relationship into the Team BVI concept, we have created an initiative that is unique in the world of offshore finance and will help the BVI continue its rapid growth and diversification in international financial services."

Mark Chapman, Managing Partner at Deloitte and another Team BVI founding member, adds: "The BVI private sector is genuinely excited by the launch of Team BVI and looks forward to marketing and representing the jurisdiction collectively in close collaboration with the Government and Regulator. The BVI has a fantastic story of growth and cutting edge financial products and Team BVI will be a powerful means of continuing to tell this story on a global platform."

As mentioned before the British Virgin Islands gets its income mostly from financial services, tourism and the marine industry. Marketing of financial services sector that attracts hundreds of thousands of investors and brings in much income to the Territory is a very crucial task. I believe this project to be successful.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Growth in BVI high-end law services sector makes Walkers to expand

Walkers, one of the leading international offshore law firms, has announced its point of view on the significant growth in the number of sophisticated, high-value corporate transactions and complex international litigation cases in the British Virgin Islands. In response, the company took new office space and hired additional staff to service the needs of the growing number of clients. The new lawyers were hired in June, just before Walker's expansion into Jersey by joining Crills Advocates. Now they are presented to the community.

Heidi de Vries, the Managing Partner of Walkers' BVI office, has noted that adding resources to the BVI office of the company is necessary to ensure firm's clients to receive outstanding service, as the level and complexity of their work in BVI continues to increase.

One of the experienced professionals who has been recently added to Walkers' BVI office as an associate lawyer is Lisa Penn-Lettsome, who has worked for long period in the BVI government and financial sectors. Earlier in 2006 she was elected as President of the BVI Bar Association. Before this, she served over five years as Deputy Managing Director of the Territory's Financial Services Commission; she demitted this post in 2003, having decided to retire from BVI Public Service.

Mrs. Penn-Lettsome has also held other executive management positions in the Public Service including as acting Registrar of Companies, Supervisor of Elections, Magistrate and Permanent Secretary. She was the first Chairman of the BVI's Financial Investigations Agency. Ms. Penn-Lettsome is a member of the STEP’s Trust and Succession Law Review Committee and International Compliance Association.

Having joined Walkers, Lisa is presently seated in the Private Client Department. The new professionals added to the corporate department of Walkers' BVI Office are Richard May and Simon Hudd.

Mr. May trained and qualified at the London department of Ashurst – the leading international law firm for financial institutions and corporate clients. He is an experienced professional in the spheres of general corporate finance, private equities, public and private mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and investment funds. In Walkers he advises on a wide range of matters including general corporate transactions, investment funds, acquisition finance and insolvency related work.

Simon Hudd joined the Walkers' BVI office in June 2006 and now advises on general corporate and commercial issues. His previous place of work was CMS Cameron McKenna LLP in London, where he advised on general corporate issues, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate finance matters with a particular focus on cross-border transactions. Mr. Hudd has completed a Maitrise en Droit in French and European Law from the Universite de Rennes I in France in 2000, and has working knowledge of French.

As a result of a greater demand for the firm's investment funds, structured finance and insolvency litigation skills in BVI, Walkers is expecting to add five more attorneys before the end of the year 2006. Mr. Lloyd, the senior partner of Walkers' BVI office, considers that expanding the Walkers' BVI office reflects the popularity of BVI as a jurisdiction for international deals.

Friday, November 03, 2006

New Private Trust Company Legislation to be introduced in the British Virgin Islands

The BVI Financial Services Commission has reported about its plans to implement new legislation on private trust companies in the British Virgin Islands. The announcement was made on 31 October 2006 by Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the BVI FSC Robert Mathavious. He also said that the proposed legislation will appear on the statute books in or around January 2007.

Mr. Mathavious explained the way how the legislation is expected to be introduced, by amending the Financial Services Commission Act and issuing a new Regulatory Code under the Act, which will enable some types of companies to apply for exemptions from licensing and other provisions and requirements of the BVI's Banks and Trust Companies Act.

By the new legislation, private trust companies which do not offer their services to the general public will be able to apply for the new exemption from the provisions of the Banks and Trust Companies Act. It is expected that unremunerated BVI companies which hold assets as nominees or “bare trustees”, not offering their services to the general public, will be automatically exempted from the Act requirements. It is also anticipated that these exemptions will have retroactive effect.

The announcement on the new legislation was welcomed by the Chairman of the BVI Branch of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), Hélène Lewis. In her comments she said that the introduction of these measures will make the BVI a highly attractive jurisdiction to use for the incorporation of private trust companies. Christopher Mckenzie, Deputy Chairman of STEP-BVI, also approved the announcement, having added that the element of certainty that will be created by these new measures should find a great deal of favour amongst those who are seeking a reputable jurisdiction in which to set up these sorts of structures.

Lisa Penn-Lettsome, the President of the BVI Bar Association, commented that the proposed new legislation would enhance the reputation of the BVI as a jurisdiction with both robust and proportionate regulations for BVI service providers, and with the flexibility which enables clients to set up structures to meet their legitimate estate planning needs. She also added that the possibility for the companies domiciled in the BVI to act as trustees is integral to the provision of a comprehensive range of financial services by an offshore financial centre.

The BVI Government is working in close collaboration with the Financial Services Commission and the private sector. They have adopted such a policy to make sure that the Territory maintains its reputation as a modern, progressive and well-regulated jurisdiction in which to do business.

Private trust companies have got popularity in Offshore Financial Centres in recent times. The proposed new legislation will be the latest of a series of financial services-related statutes which have been enacted by the BVI Government over the past few years and which include the Virgin Islands Special Trusts Act (“VISTA”), the Trustee (Amendment) Act, the BVI Business Companies Act, the Insolvency Act and some other statutes dealing with regulatory issues.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

BVI Constitutional Talks come into the Last Round

Last Friday the BVI's Constitutional Negotiating Team has started the third round of negotiations with the United Kingdom, over recommended changes for a new BVI Constitution. Before meeting with the UK Constitutional negotiators, BVI Government held two public meetings during last month, to get public opinion on what should be included in a Fundamental Righst Chapter of a new Constitution.

The Constitutional talks in BVI started in March 2006, the items included in the list for negotiations concerned sixth ministerial position in the BVI Government, adopting a cabinet system, adding human rights chapter and establishing the constitutional post of Director of Public Prosecution.

The second round of negotiations that took place in June resulted in considerable progress in some of the discussed items; however, some issues remained. The third round of negotiations is expected to be the last one. Next stage will be meeting of the BVI Constitutional Negotiating Team headed up with BVI leader Dr Orlando Smith, with Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Lord David Triesman, in order to consider the amendments to the constitution.

Before the last stage of constitutional negotiations was started the Chief Minister noted that the BVI and UK negotiating parts recognise that agreement on the different points would only be finalised as part of an overall package that would be the basis of a new BVI Constitution.

The list of negotiation points between the BVI and UK negotiating teams is based on a detailed report from the British Virgin Islands Constitutional Commission, which was made public in November 2005. The Commission itself was appointed by the Chief Minister in April 2004 with the purpose to conduct a year-long review of the Territory's constitution, in consultation with the public, and submit recommendations for its improvement. The Commission, led by Gerard Farara QC, was required to report on several aspects of the BVI's constitutional structure.

It was proposed by the Commissioners that the cabinet would consist of a Chief Minister acting as a chairman and up to five other ministers, which would become the principal policy-making body for the BVI. The Governor would also have the power to defer the consideration of any matters that he believed may infringe on the exercise of his areas of special responsibility or be prejudicial to the Government of the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile, BVI Governor Thomas Macan has stated that the public had expressed overwhelming support for the maintenance of the British Virgin Islands status as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom.

The BVI Constitutional Negotiating Team is comprised of the Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister Ronnie Skelton, Representative for the Seventh Electoral District Dr Kedrick Pickering, Leader of the Opposition Ralph O’Neal, Representative for the Third Electoral District Julian Fraser, and constitutional commissioners Gerard Farara, QC, and Elihu Rymer.

The UK Constitutional Negotiating Team is headed by Ian Hendry and includes Overseas Territories Constitutional Advisor, FCO, Michael Bradley; Legal Counsellor, FCO, Susan Dickson; FCO Desk Officer for the BVI and the Cayman Islands in the Overseas Territories Department Fiona Rumney; and Head of the Overseas Territories Department, FCO, Tony Crombie.