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#515464 - 06/24/16 08:26 PM Caribbean weighs in on BREXIT implications
Marty Offline

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has begun responding to the news that Britain has voted to leave the European Union (EU). On Friday 52 per cent of voters in a referendum in Britain opted out of remaining in the 28-member grouping. Prime Minister David Cameron has signalled his intention to resign.

The implications are far-reaching globally, with serious consequences for financial markets, investment, trade and overseas development assistant. The pound sterling has dropped to its lowest level in 30 years.

At least one CARICOM Prime Minister has spoken so far about the fallout from the vote.

Dominica Prime Minister, the Hon, Roosevelt Skerrit told a radio station in his homeland that he was shocked at the move.

“It’s a major shockwave, it’s a major shock that has hit the world and it has been felt in Dominica from last night,”the Dominica News Online outfit quoted the Prime Minister as saying in a live interview on Kairi FM on Friday morning.

Prime Minister Skerrit said the repercussions would be felt almost immediately in Dominica since the EU would lose a large chunk of its budget and it would have to restructure its whole approach to financing and development assistance.

“The decision to leave the EU is going to have major, major impact to developing economies like ours which rely heavily on development assistance from the EU,” he stated, adding that this is due to the fact that the priorities and the focus of the EU are going to change to see how it restructures without Britain.

“So the focus now will be within the EU rather than outside the EU and matters relating to the relationship of the EU with the rest of the developing world, Dominica included,” the Prime Minister said.

He pointed out that Dominica had two or three outstanding packages of “significant sums” from the EU.

“One of which is about 8.9-millions euros which we have been promised from the EU as the result of Tropical Storm Erika and the cabinet had decided that that 8.9-millio euros would be used exclusively to continue improving farm access roads in Dominica,” he explained.

“…we have an existing contract of over $22-million or so for 10 or 12 feeder roads and the other feeder roads that were not captured in this financing, the cabinet has decided that we would use the 8.9-million euros to continue and to complete the rehabilitation of all feeder roads across Dominica and there are also other budget support that are outstanding from the EU.”

Other Regional voices have expressed concerns over the vote.

Lecturer in political science and international relations Dr Kristina Hinds-Harrison told Barbados TODAY a vote which favoured Britain severing ties with the 28-nation bloc would have serious implications for Barbados and other CARICOM countries that have signed on to the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which governs trade with the EU.

“This agreement would, in some ways, be a lot less meaningful because the major trade partner for the English speaking Caribbean countries would no longer be a member of the EU. So this kind of relationship would have to be renegotiated or negotiated outside of the context of the EU and that certainly is an inconvenience,” she said.

She added that Britain’s exit would also lead to uncertainty on other issues, including immigration, development funding and trade for Barbados and the Region.

“When I am talking about trade, I don’t mean just trade in goods, but also trade in services, the ability for people to provide services. These things will have to be renegotiated.”

The negative impact on trade and investment flows was also explored by Executive Director of the Caribbean Council, David Jessop, who also zoned in on what the vote meant for the CARIFORUM EPA.

“The Caribbean will be affected in a number of ways. These include a possible negative impact on trade and development flows; a diminution in the region’s ability to influence thinking on its policy concerns in Europe; a specific range of problems for the UK’s overseas territories in the region; and a long period of uncertainty as Britain’s foreign, trade and development policy is reoriented.

“British withdrawal could also have wider consequences, for example for Europe’s future relationship with the African Caribbean and Pacific grouping of states, and accelerate the EU’s general trend towards dialogue with Latin America and the Caribbean as a single region, rather than two distinct blocs,” Mr Jessop said in a column in the Antillean Media Group.

Over in Trinidad and Tobago, economist Indera Sagewan-Alli pondered on the consequences for CARICOM.

“What is the future of the EU now given that a major player like the UK has pulled out of it? With CARICOM Caribbean Community), we have always look at the EU as a flagbearer for union and if they have not been able to make it work, what is the implication for a CARICOM going forward . Is it that we will see a further disintegration towards a more single union in CARICOM?”

While Jamaica congratulated the United Kingdom on a free and fair referendum, Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith it acknowledged that some arrangements may change.

“Jamaica and the UK share a strong historical bond of friendship and cooperation, at the bilateral level and in other spheres of engagement. Yesterday’s vote to leave the EU means that the UK will eventually cease to be part of the relevant arrangements that govern Jamaica-EU relations, including the ACP-EU Cotonou Partnership Agreement and the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement.

“Notwithstanding, we trust that renewed efforts will be made to strengthen and expand the Jamaica-UK partnership in all areas, not least in relation to trade, investment and development cooperation,” the Minister said in a statement.

Guyana was not anticipating any immediate impacts from the vote. Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge told the Demerara Waves online news site that there was not likely to be any adverse short-term consequence by way of a curtailing of resource flows or curtailment of access of commodities into the EU “whatever may be the case in relation to Britain.

In an interview with the CARICOM Secretariat earlier this week, Minister Greenidge had indicated that the outcome of the referendum threatened a degree of uncertainty, if not destabilisation in the trade and political relationships between the Region and its European partners. Noting that the EU and its European Development Fund (EDF) was the major source of concessionary grant financing for the Region, Minister Greenidge said what was decided about the future of the relations between the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) grouping and the EU would be very critical.

Britain joined the European Economic Community, the predecessor of the European Union, in 1973. In a 1975 referendum, more than 67 percent voted to remain.

TodayCARICOM.org


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#515625 - 06/28/16 11:44 AM Re: Caribbean weighs in on BREXIT implications [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

UK’s exit from EU a threat to the Caribbean, warns region’s top academic

Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Sir Hilary Beckles has warned the region to brace for the impact of the United Kingdom’s (UK) break with the European Union (EU), as he predicted that every aspect of life in the Caribbean will be negatively affected.

The Brexit (British exit) vote last Thursday has already caused ripples across the world, with the value of the pound falling and stock markets dipping among the immediate effects.

And Sir Hilary says the region’s fragile economic recovery is now under threat and Britain’s exit should trigger immediate strategic regional reactions, even before Heads of Government meet in Guyana for their July 4 to 6 Summit.

“The predictable, highly individualistic action poses both a short-term as well as a long-term threat to the performance of CARICOM economies,” he said in a statement issued yesterday.

“From trade relations to immigration, tourism to financial relations, and cultural engagements to foreign policy, there will be a significant redefinition and reshaping of CARICOM-United Kingdom engagements,” Sir Hilary further warned, as he urged CARICOM to use the development to deepen and strengthen its internal operations and external relations with the wider world.

“It’s a moment for CARICOM to come closer together rather than drift apart. The region should not be seen as mirroring this mentality of cultural and political insularity, but should reaffirm the importance of regionalism within the global context for the future.”

Sir Hilary said the UWI will host a symposium this week to discuss the implications for the Caribbean, with a view to facilitating regional action ahead of the meeting in Guyana.

“This UK development should not be taken lightly. It should be fully researched as it constitutes an obvious structural threat to the sustainability of economic institutions in the region,” he said.

The top UWI official argued that on reaching the limits of emotional despair over how to manage its post-imperial, ethnic nationalism, and challenged to participate in the global world as an equal partner, the English have retreated to their traditional identity base at the expense of every other consideration.

“It has taken this strategic step in order to go forward as old England versus the world. This is a desperate attempt to reinvent a still idealized past in which Englishness is celebrated as a distinct standard not to be entangled or diminished by deep association,” he said.

“Those driving the ‘Leave’ agenda knew very well the likelihood of broad-based negative global effects of their option, but chose to jettison external obligations, a critical feature of hyper-conservative, extreme nationalism.”

On the heels of the referendum, UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced that he would step down in October.

He had urged the country to vote “remain”, but that campaign was defeated 52 per cent to 48 per cent, although London, Scotland and Northern Ireland backed staying in.

However, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has suggested the Scottish Parliament could be able to keep Britain from enacting the referendum decision if it withholds legislative consent.

Caribbean 360


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#515706 - 07/02/16 10:09 AM Re: Caribbean weighs in on BREXIT implications [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

How Will Brexit Affect the Caribbean?

Sir Hilary Beckles

British withdrawal from the European Union, widely referred to as Brexit, follows the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum.  It is a non-binding vote that took place last Thursday in the UK to measure support for the country’s ongoing membership in the EU.  The result of the poll sent massive shockwaves across Europe, as fifty-one point nine percent of voters cast their ballots in favor of an exit.  To commence the process of leaving the EU, a course of action which is expected to take a few years, the British government will have to invoke Article Fifty of the Treaty on European Union.  That remains to be done.  While the rest of the bloc reels from the unexpected turn of events, there is concern within the Caribbean whether tremors from the UK’s announced departure will be felt in this region.  Preeminent historian Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, recently participated in a symposium to discuss the potential economic and social impact of Brexit on the Caribbean.

Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice Chancellor, U.W.I.

“This action by the British people, or the English in particular, the British in general, is not an act of irrationality.  It is an action that is consistent with the historical trends or the behavior of Britain in relation to the continent.  To identify those historical trends and patterns is therefore to see the unfolding as just another phase in an endemic structural relation between Great Britain and the continent.  You can begin your analysis with the strategic use of royal marriages to change the relations between one country and another in Europe.  The signing of strategic trade agreements to include one nation and exclude another.  The skillful use of naval power to change the balance between different parts of Europe and to effectively use trade laws and economic theory in order to interfere in the relationship between itself and other countries in Europe.  Long term, long term, seven or eight hundred years, the trend has been for Britain to keep Europe divided, to keep Europe off balance and in that process to reaffirm its specific supremacy within that geographical space.  Britain has therefore been in and out of Europe strategically over centuries, in order to promote its own specific national interest.  What we are seeing today is consistent with that historical process.”

Beckles Says Brexit Will Have Adverse Effects on the Region

Those in favor of leaving the E.U. say that it would allow the U.K. to better control immigration, thereby reducing pressure on public services, housing and jobs.  It would also save billions of pounds in E.U. membership fees and allow the U.K. to make its own trade deals and free the U.K. from E.U. regulations, as well as red tape that is seemingly needless and costly.  They also contend that being a member of the European Union undermined national sovereignty.  On the other hand, those who wanted to remain argued that leaving the E.U. would risk the UK’s prosperity and diminish its influence over world affairs, among other reasons.

Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice Chancellor, U.W.I.

“The purpose for going in in the first place was to use the context of the European Union to restructure, retransform its economy and having done that it has now taken the choice to remove itself.  I do not see these things as coincidences or irrationalities.  The history shows that these are highly rational, scientific choices that are made by men and women who have thought these matters through given their concerns; fear of being consumed by a European continent.  Margaret Thatcher was always very clear on that.  Britain’s fear has always been a European super state, a super state in Europe within which Britain would be subordinated; not going to happen.  Now, we are at a moment where we have choices, we can wait and see and there’s a group that says, “Well let’s wait and see, we can’t read the future.”  People who say we cannot read the future are people who do not know the past.  If you know the past, if you know the past you can understand the present and you can see the most likely trajectories for the future.  You can see the most likely trajectories for the future if you understand historical trends that give you a clear perception of what is your current reality.  There is no need for us to wait and see, this is an ongoing process.  There is no doubt that the current situation is a threat to our economies.  There is no doubt that it’s a threat to the fragile stability that we have put in place in the last ten years, fragile stability.  The governments have worked hard, the private sectors have stepped up to the plate to stabilize this situation to lay the foundations for growth.  This circumstance is going to adversely affect that fragile stability that we have achieved through hard work and at the cost of the people of the Caribbean.”

 

The Brexit Symposium will be aired in its entirety on Sunday morning at eleven o’clock, right here on Channel Five.

Channel 5


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