British-ruled overseas U.K. territories in the Atlantic and Caribbean regions, 14 total including the Falkland Islands, will receive more proactive participation by London in their foreign policy and economic development, British officials have announced. The decision was made as the best way to use historical links as protection for politcal and security interests in the regions.
A new strategy to reinvigorate the United Kingdom’s relationship with its Overseas Territories was unveiled as the annual Overseas Territories Consultative Council met recently in London. In addition to defense and security, the talks focused on public finance and governance, criminal justice, transport and the environment. Foreign Office Minister for the Overseas Territories Henry Bellingham said Britain ‘wants to develop a new strategy for the Overseas Territories which provides more effective support for their development and better risk management; one that involves, and is agreed by, the whole of U.K. government.’
The 14 Overseas Territories include the island of Pitcairn in the southern Pacific Ocean, which has 47 inhabitants, and Bermuda in the north Atlantic, a major financial center. The total population of the British overseas territories is around 239,000. Other U.K. overseas territories include Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, St Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha, Turks and Caicos Islands and Gibraltar.