Governor Gus Jaspert, Deputy Premier Kedrick Pickering and Colene Penn, a communications officer for the Deputy Governor’s Office, lead a press conference last month. (Photo: CONOR KING DEVITT)

Deputy Premier Dr. Kedrick Pickering departed the territory on Sunday to serve in Premier Dr. Orlando Smith’s stead during the Joint Ministerial Council meetings in the United Kingdom, according to Government Information Services.

Dr. Smith (R-at large) and Health and Social Development Minister Ronnie Skelton (R-at large) are away promoting the financial services industry in Asia.

Communications and Works Minister Mark Vanterpool (R-D4) will carry out the functions of the premier until Dr. Smith’s return.

The JMC meetings will focus on Brexit and its impact on the overseas territories, as well as the upcoming hurricane season, GIS reported.

Dr. Smith noted that OT representatives also plan to discuss constitutional matters, which have drawn attention in recent weeks due to the UK Parliament’s decision in May to pass a bill requiring the establishment of public registers of company ownership in the territories.

“Given this we will also discuss this matter and continue to make it clear that not only will we challenge this action but also that we expect a full discussion of our constitutional relationship,” the premier said. “The threat to our constitutional rights cannot go unchallenged, nor can we ignore the potential repercussions of the UK’s exit from the [European Union].”

Dr. Pickering (R-D7) will be joined by Dawn Smith, acting permanent secretary in the Premier’s Office, and Benito Wheatley, the BVI London Office director and UK/EU representative.