The Attorney General for England and Wales, Jeremy Wright QC MP, representing the UK Government, and the Attorneys General of eight of the UK’s Overseas Territories (Anguilla; Bermuda; the British Virgin Islands; Cayman Islands; Montserrat; Pitcairn; the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia; and the Turks and Caicos Islands), the Senior Advisory Counsel of Gibraltar, Solicitors General of the Crown Dependencies of Guernsey and Jersey, and a representative from the US Department of Justice met in Bermuda from 13-15 February 2018 to discuss a range of topics relating to the rule of law and administration of justice in the Territories and to enhance our mutual cooperation.
The Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC MP said:
During the conference we discussed cooperation on a number of important topics, including anti-corruption, transparency in the financial services industries in the Territories, child safeguarding, human rights, hurricane recovery efforts, criminal justice issues and support for the Territories’ good governance. We also had the opportunity to discuss the Territories’ interests in our Exit from the EU.
We celebrated the extension to Bermuda and St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha of the UN Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women demonstrating our shared commitment to raising human rights standards across the Territories.
We also welcomed continued work by the Territories with financial centres to support international efforts to tackle criminal financing and to promote tax transparency, in particular the implementation of bilateral arrangements on beneficial ownership, and the example set by the Territories as early adopters of the OECD Common Reporting Standard.
We also highlighted important developments in anti-corruption, including ongoing work in Bermuda and the Turks and Caicos Islands towards extension of key conventions to their jurisdictions.
Those in attendance committed to:
Continue involving the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies in negotiations for leaving the EU, ensuring their interests are taken into account as we move to Phase 2. The UK Government has also committed to supporting the Overseas Territories Governments and the Crown Dependencies in their preparedness planning for EU Exit.
Continue to work in partnership with Territory governments to ensure that our financial sectors are hostile to illicit finances, to implement the bilateral arrangements on beneficial ownership, and to support each jurisdiction to adopt and implement international standards, including compliance with Financial Action Task Force standards, where they have not done so.
Work with the Overseas Territories Criminal Justice Adviser and Law Enforcement Adviser and with in-Territory stakeholders to build the legislative framework necessary to support reform of the criminal justice system, improve efficiency in the investigation and prosecution of crime, as well as efforts to prevent crime, supported by UK programme funds where necessary.
Continue to support efforts by relevant Territory governments on hurricane preparedness and recovery, including continued coordination and support between Territories.
Support the Territories to achieve extension of core Human Rights conventions where these have not been extended, and to complete a review of outstanding reservations against core UN human rights treaties.
Further enhance cooperation on child safeguarding through progress under the Overseas Territories Memorandum of Understanding and finalisation of National Response Plans and work towards extension of the Lanzarote Convention.
Work in partnership with Territories to address gaps in legislation pertaining to maritime obligations.