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Gib participates in virtual OTs meeting

The Gibraltar Government today took part in a virtual meeting of the UK Overseas Territories (OTs) in preparation for the annual Joint Ministerial Council OT.

Scheduled for November, the Joint Ministerial Council OT preparations saw Gibraltar represented by Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia and the Minister for Education and the Environment Dr John Cortes, as well as the Director of Gibraltar House in London, Dominique Searle.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the respective territories, along with its problems and subsequent solutions that had been identified, were particularly relevant to all territories in attendance.

The Deputy Chief Minister said: “Gibraltar is always delighted to play a role within the wider British family of nations and this is reflected in our positive and constructive engagement with the other UK Overseas Territories.”

“There are a number of important values, traditions and interests that we all have in common.”

“The preparations for the Joint Ministerial Council OT provide an ideal opportunity for the different territories to compare notes, to set out our priorities and to work out the details of the meeting with the UK Government later in the year.”

UK Overseas Territories are made up of Anguilla, Ascension Island, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St Helena, Tristan Da Cunha, the Turks and Caicos Islands and Gibraltar.

Given the fact that the territories are located around the globe, some of the matters discussed, such as disaster management and support in dealing with hurricanes, did not apply to Gibraltar.

But other areas of common interest were, including the consequences of Brexit, contingency planning and environmental protection and climate change.

Dr Cortes outlined the position of the Government on green issues and informed those in attendance of his experience in representing the OTs at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid.

He also supported that COP26 and other environmental questions should continue on the agenda.

Gibraltar’s Deputy Chief Minister was also asked to introduce the discussion on the right to self-determination and the removal from the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories of those countries who wished it.

He explained that self-determination, decolonisation and delisting was a sacred right for the people of the territories.

There was also a discussion on the constitutional relationship between the United Kingdom and the Overseas Territories.