Department of Information & Public Relations
Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Hon D. Orlando Smith, OBE discussed progress on economic development in the territory and the continued growth of the twin pillars of the economy, financial services and tourism in meetings he has just attended in the United Kingdom.
Premier Smith during his annual visit to the UK, met with the Overseas Territories Minister, James Duddridge MP and discussed UK-BVI relations. The Premier also updated the British Virgin Islands All Party Parliamentary Group on the Territory’s progress.
Premier Smith said, “I discussed my Government’s progress on infrastructure development, led by the completion of our cruise pier and development of its landside development. I also underscored our commitment to continue investing in our transportation infrastructure, particularly the expansion of the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport, to improve access to our beautiful islands. I am pleased that the UK Government shares my view that investment in infrastructure will boost commerce and deliver greater growth and benefits for our economy.”
The Honourable Premier also updated Minister Duddridge on changes publicly announced in November to the territory’s anti-money laundering code to reinforce the jurisdiction’s robust regulatory regime; and the successful launch of the BVI Forward campaign designed to maintain the global competitiveness of the territory’s financial services industry.
The Premier added, “I reiterated the BVI’s continuing commitment to the fight against money laundering, tax evasion, illicit finance and corruption and explained the enhancements we are making to our regulatory regime with respect to beneficial ownership information, which will be held onshore from 2016. I also highlighted the further improvements we are making in order to maintain our global competitiveness in the financial services industry.”
Premier Smith also held discussions with UK law enforcement authorities on UK and BVI approaches to tackling financial crime and the operation of existing international mechanisms for law enforcement cooperation. He maintained that the BVI and the UK should continue to remain positively engaged and work together toward mutually beneficial outcomes in a range of areas.
The Premier was in London where he attended the Joint Ministerial Council from December 1 to 2, which brings together UK and OT Ministers to discuss the UK-OT relationship. He was joined by Acting Permanent Secretary Mr. Brodrick Penn, BVI London Office Director Mr. Benito Wheatley and Acting Political Officer Ms. Jehree Clarke.