UK Minister for Overseas Territories to Visit Turks and Caicos Next Week

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Above: UK Minister for the Overseas Territories Mark Simmonds (Photo: FCO)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

United Kingdom Minister for the Overseas Territories Mark Simmonds will be making his first ministerial visit to the Turks and Caicos Islands next week.

The trip will last from Nov. 26 to Nov. 28, and will include meetings with new TCI Premier Dr Rufus Ewing, Opposition Leader Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson and members of the House of Assembly.

“I am delighted to be making my first ministerial visit to TCI at such a significant time, between the election and the inauguration of the new House of Assembly,” he said ahead of the trip. “I particularly look forward to meeting the newly-elected Premier and Cabinet.”

Simmonds, the Member of Parliament for Boston and Skegness was named Minister for the Overseas Territories in a cabinet reshuffle by British Prime Minister David Cameron in September.

He said the UK had “successfully fulfilled our commitment to restore a democratically-elected government.”

“I am pleased that the interim government have put TCI on the right track with the new Constitution, an updated set of laws, improved public finances and procedures, an improved and impartial civil service and the TCI benefits from good inward investment and a growing economy,” he said.

Simmonds also said he was “pleased” that the TCI’s government was working towards achieving a budget surplus for the full year ending March 2013.

“The new fiscal architecture established by the interim government gives us the confidence that surpluses can continue to be achieved, that TCI can finance itself independently and sustainably when the UK guarantee expires in 2016 and meet its debt targets as required,” he said.

He said the UK was “determined” to ensure positive progress continued in the territory, and “that there is no repeat of the scenario that led to suspension of democratic government.”

Turks and Caicos Governor Ric Todd is currently in the UK briefing Ministers on the progress of the territory.

 

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