8 November 2022
Chief Minister Julie Thomas arrived back to the Island on Saturday 05 November, having been overseas for the last two weeks.
The Chief Minister had been in the UK to attend a number of engagements, including the annual Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) of Overseas Territories, although this was
regrettably postponed the week before it was due to begin. As a result, the Chief Minister travelled back from the UK a week earlier than scheduled.
Of her trip, Chief Minister Julie Thomas said:
“Whilst it was disappointing that the JMC was postponed at late notice, I was pleased to still be able to undertake a significant amount of business whilst in the UK.”
“I had bilateral meetings with UK Ministers. This included a meeting with the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Minister with responsibility for the Overseas Territories Lord Goldsmith, and Lord Benyon from the Department for Environment, Fisheries, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). We discussed the various UK funded and supported projects underway in St Helena and options for further collaboration.”
“I met with Lord Foulkes, a Vice Chair of the St Helena All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) in the UK Parliament and Chair of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) UK Overseas Territory Project, before meeting with several officials from the CPA, including Chief Executive Jon Davies. I met with Stephen Doughty, another Vice Chair of the St Helena APPG and Labour Shadow Minister with responsibility for the Overseas Territories. I also met with Lord Randall, another Vice Chair of the St Helena APPG and Parliamentary member of the Nature APPG, where he expanded on his plans for an OTs Environmental APPG.”
“Alongside other representatives from the OTs I met Alicia Kearns MP, Chair of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee. She expressed her commitment to supporting the OTs and was eager to assist in raising our profiles.”
“I also took the opportunity to meet with colleagues from HM Treasury and the Government of Gibraltar to discuss a variety of matters around digital finance, to improve our understanding of the processes that would need to be considered when working on potential options for St Helena ahead of the fibre cable becoming fully operational.”
“It was a very productive trip and one which I, and our key off-Island partners, found extremely valuable. I’d like to thank St Helena’s UK Representative Kedell Worboys for all of her support during my time in the UK. She was able to reorganise engagements and meetings at short notice, ensuring that I had a full and fruitful programme of events whilst in the UK.”
During the Chief Minister’s absence, Minster for Environment, Natural Resources and Planning Christine Scipio was appointed Deputy Chief Minister. On Sunday 06 November, Minster Scipio travelled overseas herself for personal reasons.
7 November 2022