The 2012 White Paper on Britain’s overseas territories includes the following message from Prime Minister David Cameron.
The United Kingdom’s 14 Overseas Territories are an integral part of Britain’s life and history. Today they include one of the world’s richest communities (Bermuda) and the most remote community (Tristan da Cunha).
They include thousands of small islands, vast areas of ocean, but also, in Antarctica, land six times the size of the United Kingdom.
Most of the people of the Territories are British and where they choose to remain British we will respect and welcome that choice. The relationship entails a balance of benefits and responsibilities which everyone must respect.
This Government is ambitious for our Territories as we are ambitious for the United Kingdom. We want to see our communities flourish in partnership, with strong and sustainable local economies.
We see an important opportunity to set world standards in our stewardship of the extraordinary natural environments we have inherited.
This White Paper sets out our commitment to work with the Territories to address the challenges we face together. This is a commitment from across the UK Government.
The White Paper also celebrates the diversity, successes and opportunities in the Territories.
2012 is the Centenary of Scott’s heroic journey to the South Pole. It is the 30th Anniversary of the Falklands conflict when so many gave their lives to protect the islanders’ right to choose their own future. It is also Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The Territories are a valued part of the Realm and recently joined in this celebration. It is an ideal time to publish this White Paper and I hope it will raise awareness in the United Kingdom of these British communities, lands and seas around the world.