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UK’s vote to leave the EU will hurt the VI- Premier Smith

- says the Virgin Islands wants to be a part of the Exit negotiations not just to be consulted
Britain leaving the European Union will hurt the Virgin Islands, according to Premier Dr The Hon D. Orlando Smith. Photo: Internet Source
The United Kingdom voted on June 23, 2016 in an almost landslide to exit from the European Union after some 43 years. Photo: Internet Source
The United Kingdom voted on June 23, 2016 in an almost landslide to exit from the European Union after some 43 years. Photo: Internet Source
Premier Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (left) wants the Virgin Islands to have a say in the Brexit negotiations and not just to be consulted. This is left to be seen since the local governor Mr John S. Duncan OBE (right) continues to be a strong arm and dictate to the Smith Administration. Photo: VINO/File
Premier Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (left) wants the Virgin Islands to have a say in the Brexit negotiations and not just to be consulted. This is left to be seen since the local governor Mr John S. Duncan OBE (right) continues to be a strong arm and dictate to the Smith Administration. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola VI- After some five years of heavy criticism for not being engaged regionally or internationally, the territory’s second Premier, Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith, took to the airwaves in a radio address on June 30, 2016 and told residents that the United Kingdom’s recent vote to leave the 28 Member European Union (EU) is bad for the Virgin Islands.

The Dr Smith Administration, according to critics, has not handled regional and international affairs in a meaningful way and seems to only react- most often too slow on events that affect the Virgin Islands.

Bad move for the VI

Dr Smith, now in his second consecutive term as Premier of the tiny overseas territory with a population of 40 thousand, in speaking to the British vote to leave the EU, reported that “the BVI has had a longstanding and beneficial relationship with the EU in which we benefit as British citizens from the ability to travel, study, work and live in the EU.”

In making a case that the United Kingdom vote was bad for the Virgin Islands (VI), Dr Smith told residents “our tourism and financial services industries benefit from commercial links with the EU, and the VI Government has received technical assistance and funding support for projects such as the construction of the Culinary Arts Centre, the Library and Resource Centre and Eileene L. Parsons Auditorium at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC); and the newly built Sage Mountain Visitors Centre.”

Sometime before we feel the effect

While reminding the public that the effect will not kick in until about two years from now, Premier Smith, who is also the Minister for Immigration, said, “one issue that many VIslanders are concerned about is travel and migration rights. British passport holders and those holding British Overseas Territories Citizens Passports in the meantime will continue to be able to travel as normal.”

However, the Minister of Finance warned that “the free movement of UK passport holders within the EU will, of course, be a subject for the exit negotiations.”

Relationship with UK mixed; Governor is bad news

While the relationship between the VI and the UK has for the most part been one-sided, with both the local appointed Governor John S. Duncan OBE and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) dictating to the Smith Administration, Premier Smith seemed to take a different tone in his speech to the nation .

He said in his national address to residents on June 30, 2016 that “I want to reassure the public that my Government will be working with other Overseas Territories to make our case to the UK Government that the Overseas Territories should be directly involved in Britain’s negotiations with the EU to ensure that the interests of our people and territories are met. This means going beyond purely consultation. Let me be clear. We want to be more than consulted,” he stated.

However, this is left to be seen, as the local governor Mr Duncan continues to be a strong arm and dictate to the Smith Administration. He has been accused of having total disregard for the VI constitution and has almost contempt while sitting in Cabinet for the local government decisions.

More EU exit fall out

Another fall out for the VI of the British leaving the UK is that of Tourism. Premier Smith said, “The UK decision to leave the EU does present some immediate risks of which we must all be aware. First, the referendum outcome rattled the UK, European and international financial markets. The value of the pound dropped, and continues to be volatile. British holiday makers do make up an important part (and is the largest grouping) of our tourist arrivals from Europe, who will understandably be concerned about their financial position and likely hesitant to spend as before.”

The vote for the exit from the UK also referred to as ‘Brexit’ is bad for the VI as “the EU is currently funding the Caribbean Small and Medium Enterprise Project, which VI manages, that is a venue for strengthening the territory’s ability to support our small businesses.” It remains unclear if this will continue.

Another issue with the UK exit vote, according to the Premier, is that the VI was to “benefit very soon from the EU-funded Territorial Strategies for Innovation (TSI) project, which is aimed at making innovation a driver of economic growth as we seek to diversify the economy.” This is now in limbo.

The United Kingdom voted on June 23, 2016 in an almost landslide to exit from the European Union after some 43 years.

8 Responses to “UK’s vote to leave the EU will hurt the VI- Premier Smith”

  • one eye (01/07/2016, 16:15) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    well sah the world still in sock
  • bvi (01/07/2016, 16:44) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    I bate NDP al of them these wicked ppl make me sick so when we goin con independent how or we goin to do
  • wize up (01/07/2016, 17:28) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Does this administration have solutions ?
  • Brexit Sad Story (01/07/2016, 17:57) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    An economic crisis is catching. Societies now need to think critically of measures to build the economy. Master minds really have to integrate ideas carefully.
  • VG (01/07/2016, 19:59) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    No to independence under NDP
  • Bohannon (02/07/2016, 01:18) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Bunch of novices ruling the VI. Time will tell.
  • Bohannon (02/07/2016, 07:01) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    No to anything under NDP.No Darm Principles
  • Unbelievable (02/07/2016, 12:26) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    He waited until after the referendum is passed to pretend he is concerned. Why shouldn't the Governor dictate if there is no one running this territory,


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