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UK Official Visits Caribbean To Discuss Offshore Sector

Mandy Robinson,, London

12 September 2000

Baroness Patricia Scotland yesterday embarked upon an official visit to the Caribbean and among her key destinations are the British Virgin Islands and Anguilla, where she will discuss the islands' offshore financial sectors with local government and private sector representatives.

Baroness Scotland has ministerial responsibility for British overseas territorities. In the British Virgin Islands from 13 - 15 September she will consult with Chief Minister Ralph O'Neal and intends to visit community projects, schools and the Office of Disaster Preparedness, Mr O'Neal says 'since she is in charge and has so much responsibility for the territory, it is only right that she should come and see for herself and talk to the people, the elected representatives, the various businesses, non-governmental organizations and societies to get their views and how they think the territory should go.'

In preparation for his meeting with Baroness Scotland, Mr O'Neal was in London this weekend to discuss with British officials a review of the offshore financial sectors of British Caribbean territories such as the British Virgin Islands, the Turks and Caicos, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat, Anguilla and Bermuda.

The study which Mr O'Neal is due to discuss in the UK was performed by KPMG on behalf of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The report compares financial legislation, procedures and practices in the territories and make recommendations on how to correct weaknesses. If Mr O'Neal had any concerns over the study before his departure, he was not about to disclose them. He said: 'I am confident our financial sector is in accordance with international regulations'. Financial services are vital to the British Virgin Islands with the territory's 2000 budget expecting 53.9 percent of its revenue to come from the sector.

In Anguilla, Baroness Scotland's agenda will include a meeting with Chief Minister Osbourne Fleming when she will sign the 2000-2003 Strategic Country Programme. During her tour of the Caribbean, Baronness Scotland also intends to visit Guyana, Jamaica and Cuba, and she will return on 23 September.


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