Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Delegation of BVI Officials at OCTA Meetings in Brussels

The BVI delegation, headed by Minister of Communications and Works of the British Virgin Islands Honourable Julian Fraser, took part in the annual OCTA (Overseas Countries and Territories Association) Ministerial Conference and the OCTA-EU forum, whicih took place in Brussels, Belgium from November 26-28. The delegation was comprised of Financial Secretary Neil Smith, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Premier's Office Petrona Smith, Deputy Director of the International Affairs Secretariat Elise Donovan, director of the BVI London Office Dawn Smith, political and accounts officer of the London Office Sandra Besson, private secretary Gloria Mactavious, and consultant Ben Coleman.

Having in mind that EU is reviewing its relationship with the Overseas Countries and Territories and has proposed a “privileged partnership” based on “Europeanicity”, Minister emphasised that the BVI needed to explore the meaning of these terms and potential effect on BVI-UK relationship.

The BVI delegation actively participated in the discussions focused on financial services, economic and trade co-operation, environment problems and other issues. Speaking after the Forum, Minister Fraser said: “The BVI must ensure that our relationship with Europe continues to deliver benefits for our people. We are going to have to do some serious thinking about the results we want and the best way of getting them.”

During the meetings, Fraser stressed BVI's commitment to work with the Overseas Countries and Territories Association and the EU. He had bilateral discussions with the heads of delegations from other overseas territories from the Caribbean region and around the world.

Being the chair of OCTA's Partnership Working Party in Financial Services, in May 2007 BVI hosted the financial conference of the Overseas Countries and Territories Association. In Brussels, the British Virgin Islands presented a review of the year's activities in the sphere of financial services.

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