Coronation & Joint Ministerial Council 2023
The Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla and the annual Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) between UK Government departments and the Overseas Territories governments presented an exciting backdrop for Premier David Burt and the Bermuda Government delegation’s visit to London.
The Coronation activities began with a Small Island Developing States Breakfast on May 5th, hosted by King Charles, to welcome visiting delegations from across the Commonwealth and Overseas Territories, with these nations’ leaders reconnecting later that evening at the King’s Reception.
Saturday, May 6th saw months of preparations for the Coronation come to fruition, with King Charles III and Queen Camilla crowned in Westminster Abbey, where the Premier and Governor were in attendance to witness the spectacle. Lastly, the Coronation calendar of events came to a close with the King’s Concert in Windsor on Sunday, May 7th, where star-studded musical acts were showcased alongside British cultural icons from all across the UK and the Commonwealth to honour the King.
The following week of engagements began on Tuesday, May 9th with the United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA) Political Council, providing the opportunity for leaders of the Overseas Territories to come together ahead of meetings with UK Government departments. They addressed points of issue on the upcoming agenda and, where possible, found areas of agreement to bring to the JMC with a collective voice.
The Premier also held bilaterals with Lord Zac Goldsmith, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Minister with responsibility for the Overseas Territories.
Premier Burt also paid a visit to the Qatari Embassy in London, to meet His Excellency Fahad bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah, Qatar’s Ambassador to the UK.
Lastly, the day concluded with the Speaker of the House of Commons’ Reception and Dinner, where Premier Burt, as the longest-serving Premier in the Overseas Territories, was invited to unveil one of the two new stained glass windows that adorns the entrance to the Speaker’s House on Parliament grounds. These stained glass windows embody Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle’s commitment and advocacy of the Overseas Territories, as the crests of all 20 Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies are proudly on display.
The Premier began Wednesday, May 10th with a breakfast meeting with Gold members of the Bermuda Society, to brief them on the future of Bermuda’s digital economy, plans to expand the island’s international relationships, and collaborative initiatives to support Bermudians studying in the UK.
The Premier and other visiting Overseas Territories delegations were then invited to attend a session of Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, before participating in an Overseas Territories Parliamentary Conference in Portcullis House hosted by Speaker Hoyle and Lord Goldsmith. Overseas Territories representatives had the opportunity to share their perspectives with UK MPs on two main topics: the Overseas Territories as ‘Environmental Superpowers’, and reflecting on ‘Our People, Our Future’. The Premier spoke on a panel, passionately leading a discussion on the future of the Overseas Territories relationships with the UK.
The first day of JMC meetings on Thursday, May 11th opened with a greeting from Prince Edward, the Duke of Edinburgh, on behalf of the Royal Family as well as the Foreign Secretary. Productive sessions on the UK-Overseas Territories’ relationship, law enforcement and irregular migration, and economic and financial resilience were held, giving the leaders of each Territory the opportunity to speak candidly about the issues facing their homelands on the various topics.
The London Office hosted a ‘Dinner and Dialogue’ event in the presence of the Premier for UK-based Bermudian university students and recent graduates, which afforded young Bermudians the opportunity to socialise and network with others in their similar career fields. Additionally, students asked the Premier their pressing questions on youth issues.
On the final day of the Premier’s visit, Overseas Territories’ delegations returned to the FCDO for the continuance of the Joint Ministerial Council. To conclude the occasion, the Territories and the UK Government agreed upon a communiqué to strengthen the UK’s commitment to the assistance and development of the Overseas Territories on the issues raised throughout the JMC. The JMC itinerary ended with a Closing Reception, giving the delegations a final opportunity to socialise and cement good relations before returning to their Territories.
The JMC Communique is available via: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/2023-uk-and-overseas-territories-joint-ministerial-council-communique/2023-uk-and-overseas-territories-joint-ministerial-council-communique