British Director of Overseas Territories visits BVI


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(CMC) – The Government of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) says the Director for Overseas Territories in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Ben Merrick, is on a four-day visit to the Territory.

The Government said in a statement that Merrick’s visit, which began on Wednesday, focuses on governance, financial services and the recovery of the BVI.

While in the BVI, Merrick will meet with Premier and Minister of Finance Dr. D. Orlando Smith, the BVI Cabinet, the Leader of the Opposition and members of the Financial Services Industry.

He will also visit several government departments and agencies, including the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, the Department of Disaster Management, the BVI Ports Authority, the BVI Airports Authority and the Recovery and Development Agency, the statement said.

“The Overseas Territories Director will also see the impact of the significant financial and technical support from the United Kingdom (UK) since last year’s hurricanes, including helping to rebuild the Territory’s infrastructure, namely water and electricity services, the courts, the police, the prison and housing repairs for some of the most vulnerable in society,” the statement said.

It said Merrick will also discuss how the UK’s further offers of grant funding and loan guarantees will be used to support BVI’s recovery and development.

Merrick’s visit follows an earlier visit by the former Minister for the Overseas Territories, Lord Ahmad in July.

The Overseas Territories Directorate of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is responsible for UK policy towards the non-European Union (EU) Overseas Territories.

Working closely and in partnership with Overseas Territories Governments, the directorate has a particular focus on good governance and the rule of law, economic sustainability and international relations, the statement said.

Merrick was appointed Director of Overseas Territories at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in August 2017.

In that role, he holds office as Commissioner of the British Antarctic Territory and Commissioner of the British Indian Ocean Territory.

Previously, Merrick was the Deputy Director of the Overseas Territories and has worked in the UK’s Ministry of Defense and Cabinet Office.

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