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Caribbean newsnow

BVI and USVI officials identify areas of mutual interest


Caribbeannewsnow.com
Last Update: Mar 27, 2007

ROAD TOWN, BVI: Chief Minister of the British Virgin Islands Dr Orlando Smith and US Virgin Islands Governor John de Jongh Jr have identified several areas of mutual interest and benefit for continued cooperation between the two Territories.

ROAD TOWN, BVI:  Chief Minister of the British Virgin Islands Dr Orlando Smith and US Virgin Islands Governor John de Jongh Jr have identified several areas of mutual interest and benefit for continued cooperation between the two Territories.

The Chief Minister and USVI Governor met recently in the BVI for their first formal meeting since de Jongh was sworn into office on January 1.

Among other things, the Chief Minister said the talks focused on continued functioning of the Inter Virgin Islands Council (IVIC). “Both I and Governor de Jongh are interested in keeping the IVIC going as we both see the benefits it can bring to the greater Virgin Islands,” the Chief Minister said.

He also noted that a decision was taken for the Council to meet bi-annually, while the 11 standing committees that make up the IVIC will meet on a quarterly basis. “This will enable us to iron out any difficulties that might arise and to work more efficiently together,” the Chief Minister said.

The USVI Governor stated his commitment to seeing the IVIC continuing to perform its vital role of addressing issues that are of concern to the two Territories. “We are one people. We must continue to survive economically, socially and politically so it is very important for us to have continued discussions,” de Jongh said.

Another key issue discussed by the leaders was the introduction of an airlift service between the two Territories, which both men agreed would be of mutual benefit.

The Governor also said that since the BVI has varying membership status in Caribbean organisations, he would seek the BVI’s assistance in getting more involved in institutions such as OECS and CARICOM as he is keen in building relations with regional bodies.

Governor de Jongh commended the Chief Minister and the BVI Constitutional Negotiating Team on their recent success after yearlong constitutional negotiations with the United Kingdom. He made special mention of the relatively short time in which the team was able to achieve its goal of securing a new BVI Constitution, the public education process, and the actual negotiations between the two sides.


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