This blog entry summarizes the Bermuda Entrustment with the UK and provides download links to current and historical versions of the entrustment. These documents were provided by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), and are provided on this blog under the UK Open Government License.
The Bermuda Entrustment (sometimes called the Deed or Letter of Entrustment) is the memo that describes what powers the UK Government has delegated to the Government of Bermuda. Bermuda is a dependent territory of the UK (formerly known as a colony), and as such, the UK is in charge of all of our external relations. However, when the current constitution was created in 1968, the UK delegated certain authority to the Bermuda Government, mostly around trade and commercial agreements.
Specifically, the entrustment states (shortened for this blog entry):
"In addition, ... the United Kingdom Government hereby delegate to the Bermuda Government ... executive authority to conduct external relations on behalf of the United Kingdom Government as follows:-(a) Authority to negotiate and conclude trade agreements with other countries, whether bilateral or multilateral, relating solely to the treatment of goods.(b) Authority to arrange or permit visits of up to thirty days for trade or commercial purposes ...(c) Authority to negotiate and conclude agreements of purely local concern with any independent member of the Commonwealth or the United States of America...(d) Authority to negotiate and conclude agreements for technical assistance or of a cultural or scientific nature with any independent member of the Commonwealth or the United States of America...(e) Authority to negotiate and conclude agreements with other countries, whether bilateral or multilateral, relating to emigration from Bermuda to those countries and to emigrant labour schemes."
Download the full 1968 Bermuda Letter of Entrustment (PDF).
The Entrustment was updated in 2005 to specifically add authority for Bermuda to negotiate bilateral agreements about Tourism. Download the 2005 Amendment to the Bermuda Letter of Entrustment (PDF).
In 2009 the Entrustment was replaced with a new version, which tightens the UK's leash on Bermuda. Specifically, it removed the paragraph (c) authorizing Bermuda to make agreements of "purely local concern".
The original Entrustment requires Bermuda to inform the UK of Bermuda's activities under the agreement and provides that the UK may not permit it. However, the 2009 version is much more explicit about this and seems to put Bermuda on a tighter leash. The new version requires Bermuda to provide written reports of all activity under the Entrustment, and requires Bermuda to provide written copies of all agreements to the UK for approval before they are signed.