Director for Overseas Territories in the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Ben Merrick is currently in the territory on a visit focused on local governance, financial services, and the recovery of the British Virgin Islands.
During his four-day visit, the Overseas Territories director will be meeting government leader Premier Dr D Orlando Smith, Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie, as well as local Cabinet where he is expected to discuss how future grant funding and loan guarantees from Britain will be used to support BVI’s recovery and development.
A media release from the Office of the Governor said Merrick will also be visiting government departments and agencies such as the territories constabulary, the Department of Disaster Management, the BVI Ports Authority, the BVI Airports Authority and the Recovery and Development Agency.
It is said that he will be looking first-hand at how financial and technical support from the UK after the hurricanes were utilized.
The media released noted that the UK’s support was used to help rebuild local infrastructure and create housing assistance to some of the most vulnerable in society.
Merrick’s visit to the territory comes months after the UK’s Foreign Affairs Committee opened up an inquiry concerning the future of its constitutional relationship with the British Virgin Islands and other Overseas Territories.
The results from that inquiry are still being discussed, BVI News understands.
The Overseas Territories director’s visit also follows a visit from the UK minister responsible for Overseas Territory’s Lord Tariq Ahmad in late July.
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