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OT & an unsustainable Brexit

Dickson C. Igwe. Photo: VINO/File
By Dickson C. Igwe

In the long run, Brexit is unsustainable. But Brexit will impact Overseas Territories (OTs) of Great Britain in the Caribbean.

OK: a preamble, and a short diversion from the main story is appropriate. The new Virgin Islands (VI) Government has stated that maritime learning and the pursuit of a maritime culture will be a core priority of its long term vision for the VI.

Maritime learning, marine science and technology, boating and Seafaring, are great components of any vision for the future of the VI economy.

The VI possesses a rich maritime ecosystem.

The archipelago is a natural sailing and seafaring destination with a pristine geography that promises to become a huge economic boon for natives and residents.

Brexit Huge  

The maritime economy is systemic to VI prosperity in the long run. Why, because these islands depend on the sea for their existence.

The maritime economy and culture is an opportunity for a generation of young Virgin Islanders to learn and adopt critical seafaring and ocean sciences skills.

A focus on maritime fits with a new stress on eco-tourism and turning the VI into a self sustaining, agricultural and fishing economy.

The aforementioned can drive strong, sustainable, economic growth.

In another vein, make no mistake, the Brexit matter – the UK leaving the European Union on March 29, 2019—is a huge one for the Caribbean Overseas territories.

Why, because, as OTs of Great Britain – another word for glorified colonies—whenever Westminster coughs, the OTs catch pneumonia.

SSM/Public Registers

A typical example is the threat to remove Belonger Status, and the imposition of Same Sex Marriage, and the forcible Inspection of Public Registers of registered offshore companies.

These are impositions on the OTs, without any thought of what the OTs need and want.

The Caribbean Overseas Ts are an afterthought for the UK—make no mistake.

And the UK’s Crown Dependencies are not taking these impositions lying down.

The Crown Dependencies have stated that as self governing jurisdictions they are under no obligation to obey rules laid down by the UK: Westminster.

Same Approach  

The Caribbean OTs must adopt the same approach.

However, it is critical all the OTs act together as one single and united ‘confederation’ in any negotiations with Westminster and Whitehall.

Brexit is a constitutional crisis for the UK.

The relationships between the UK and its various constituent countries and territories are driven by convention and historical precedent as stated in Britain’s unwritten constitution.

That is the reason any negotiations between the Caribbean OTs and the UK must be driven by appropriate experts in concert with OT political leaders.

The preceding is a ‘hugely complex’ matter.

It is not emotion. OTs must engineer comprehensive assessments on how the OTs links to a Brexit preoccupied UK are being impacted by the present Brexit impasse. 

UK Breakup

No one can predict how Brexit will turn out.

The threat of a UK breakup in the near future is very real. Consequently all assertions on OTs by any parliamentary committee are premature, before the UKs Post Brexit constitutional character is decided.

OT Leaders must hold the UK’s feet to the fire on Brexit.

This is simply not the time for Britain’s Parliament to make any decision on OTs without full participation by OTs on Brexit and how the UK leaving Europe will impact the lives of OT residents.

Brexit colours every aspect of UK politics, including the UK’s administration of its OTs.

And once again with all the talk of consultation between OTs and Westminster/Whitehall, OTs must ask: why were the Caribbean OTs completely ignored on the Brexit matter: a matter that directly impacts their welfare, aspirations, and their constitutional relationship with the mainland UK?

To be continued

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2 Responses to “OT & an unsustainable Brexit”

  • Fan (10/03/2019, 07:53) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Another good read
  • Consider (10/03/2019, 10:59) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    Maritime economy has been around for a long time, but zero investment in trying to get locals into it, not that whole lot of interest has been shown by locals in general ( I suppose beyond a select few who are involved in trans-shipments of South American pharmaceutical products). IMHO, no one should be able to graduate from high school in the BVIs without understanding the basics of operating a boat, including safety and rules of the road, and without being able to swim 100 yards unassisted. Most people here don't even know how to swim, for goodness sakes!
    Brexit indeed is problematic but more problematic would be trying to get OTs to work together and in concert in response to Brexit. Think how difficult it has been to operate LIAT. If we don't want to be dictated by the UK, we can start by not becoming (or refusing to become) UK citizens, and by turning away their recovery loan guarantees, and whatever grants or monies come from there. The UK's point of view, which does not seem to feature much in discussions, is that policies in OTs are creating circumstances where UK citizens are discriminating against other UK citizens on the basis of origin, or sexual orientation. It used to be religion too, until the UK ended the practice of turning away people arriving in these shores sporting dreadlocks (back in the mid 90s). It is also absurd to think that the UK should have included OTs in its Brexit referendum as suggested. The BVIs represents 0.04% of the UK population, and AFIK has limited trade involvement with the EU.


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