(Original script, may differ from delivered version)
Secretary for Administration and Justice of the Macao SAR Government Ms Chan Hoi Fan, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this year’s Queen’s Birthday Party – indeed Her Majesty’s 90th – here in Macao.
I would like to thank our many kind sponsors whose names are displayed around the Macao Tower and in the programme cards.
Ladies and gentlemen, may I invite you to raise your glasses in the first toast of the evening to Her Majesty [“The Queen”].
Since we gathered at the Macao Science Museum in April 2015 to celebrate Her Majesty’s 89th Birthday, I am pleased to be able to report that the UK-Macao relationship has gone from strength to strength, culturally, commercially and politically.
Indeed as I survey the past almost four years – for this is my fourth Queen’s Birthday Party – it is fair to say that the UK-Macao relationship has been motoring along. So it was right to host the QBP in 2013 in the Grand Prix Museum.
And how have we been firing on all cylinders, you might ask.
First – harmonically. The BBC Philharmonic Orchestra was a key attraction at Macao’s 29th International Music Festival last October. Two of Cambridge University’s Choirs (Girton College and Gonville and Caius College) also performed at the University of Macao.
Second, we have proceeded glamorously and creatively – witness our Bond film “Spectre” premiere last November.
Thirdly – we have added value. Commercially our UK companies continue to make a real difference to life in Macao. One example is through the GREAT buildings they design such as the late Dame Zaha Hadid’s City of Dreams Tower 5.
This building will of course now form part of her global legacy following her untimely death a few weeks ago.
Fourthly – innovatively, with new services and products. Marks & Spencer opened their second store in the Venetian and I was honoured to be able to cut the ribbon – alongside Percy Pig.
This year the UK Trade & Investment team have brought trade missions from various sectors including smart cities, the experience economy and fashion, many of whom are now doing business in Macao.
We have also explored Macao’s plans to develop Marinas in the new territorial waters and have arranged for a UK Expert to speak at Macao’s Science & Technology Development Fund’s first Smart City Conference, that will take place here at the Science Centre next week.
As always Madam Secretary the UK stands willing and able to do so much more to support your plans for economic growth and diversification.
From creative industries to retail and food & beverage; from infrastructure and high-quality service provision, to the development of Macao’s Sovereign Wealth Fund and the preservation of your culture and heritage buildings; the UK has significant expertise to offer.
Politically, I am delighted at the close working relationship we now have with Macao government across all departments, but particularly in the areas of the creative industries, culture and heritage. And the financial sector.
For the first time our Lord Mayor of London was able to meet with representatives of the Monetary Authority of Macao. Significantly, the UK was able to repatriate £28.7 million to the Macao authorities.
This was the first ever return of proceeds of corruption by the UK under the UN Convention against Corruption to China and a significant milestone in the British Prime Minister’s anti-corruption drive. A priority here locally I know too.
2015 was another strong year for investment into the UK, and we remain the No.1 destination for Foreign Direct Investment in Europe.
Equally UK investment into Macao is helping to regenerate Taipa Village and attract new and dynamic businesses.
As you can see from these stunning images in 2016 we will commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
“Shakespeare Lives 2016” is a global celebration of the influence of William Shakespeare on culture, language, education and society. Led by the British Council working with Visit Britain, Education UK, UK Trade & Investment and the FCO, alongside theatres, museums and artists Shakespeare Lives will be delivered in 110 countries.
The British Council have continued their engagement with Macao, and for the second year in succession will be leading a delegation of UK universities to visit secondary schools and local universities.
The aim is to enable students to learn more about studying in the UK, and for academic institutions in the UK to discuss partnership with their Macao counterparts.
It’s interesting, too, that the number of Macao students studying in the UK increased 20% in 2015 compared with 2014. The numbers are small – 269 compared to 225 – but the trend is a healthy one.
The British Council is also collaborating with the Macao Polytechnic Institute MPI-Bell Centre of English in a drive to enhance English standards, including through the Prudential creative education teacher training programme – promoting creativity through art and English.
So as you can see, the British Consulate-General is delivering across the board and for this I would like to thank a very talented, hard working and conscientious team for all they do for Britain in Macao.
The British community here has grown in recent years, which given the deepening trade and investment ties we have here should be no surprise.
But the pace of that growth has been dramatic - from around three to four hundred residents five years ago, latest statistics show there are over 950 British citizens living in Macao today.
On top of that, there are now nearly 60,000 UK tourists visiting Macao per year. The UK still tops the table when it comes to visitors to Macao from the EU (60,000 UK tourists visited last year) and both London and Macao still rank amongst the top ten of the world’s most visited cities (HK 1st, London 2nd, Macao 6th).
As part of an effort to increase our profile here so that the community knows that we are here to help, the consular team has made two successful visits to Macao in the past year, engaging with both the Macao Government and the UK community – some of you may have attended the consular clinic in the Taipa Scout Hut in November.
We cannot deliver these services without the close cooperation we have with many Macao SAR Government departments. I’d like to thank the Macao Police, Immigration, Social Welfare Bureau, Health Bureau and Tourist Crisis Management Office for their engagement with us this year, and their ongoing support to British nationals in distress in Macao.
Thanks too to the Macao Prison authorities for offering our consular team a tour of their facilities this year, but I am pleased to say that at this time we have no nationals to visit there. Let us hope it remains that way.
As always a huge thank you to Dr Glenn McCartney, our Honorary Consul in Macao, who continues to provide tremendous support to both my trade & investment and consular teams.
I can only apologise, Glenn, that our British Consulate football team repaid your services by coming to the Macao MUST stadium in March and defeating your Macao British Community XI in a closely fought inaugural “St Patrick’s Shield”.
Joking aside, this looked like a well attended and fun event that drew the community here and our consulate staff closer together – I look forward to hearing how the return fixture back in Hong Kong goes later this year.
My second vote of thanks must go to the excellent British Business Association of Macao. My special thanks to Henry, Dora and the Committee for all the work you do to raise the profile of the UK here in Macao. I am very grateful to you and your members for the support you extend to my team.
My final vote of thanks must go of course to our Macao partners and friends here this evening. We are grateful to you all for your support and look forward to growing our relationship in the coming year.
I invite you all to join me in a toast, ‘to the people of the People’s Republic of China and of the Macao Special Administrative Region’.
May I now invite Ms Chan Hoi Fan, the Secretary for Administration and Justice of the Macao Special Administrative Region Government, to address our guests.