Brexit from afar: a Caribbean perspective…

I thought that it might be interesting to find out how Brexit looks from beyond the European Union, and this week’s commentary comes courtesy of the Barbados Advocate, and its columnist, David Jessop.

He starts by summarising what he sees as the current imponderables – the Irish border, the role of the UK Parliament in terms of the final position and, interestingly, the fault lines in both the Conservative and Labour Parties. And then, he turns to the likely impact on the Caribbean Commonwealth;

None of this helps remove the continuing uncertainty for the Caribbean about the possible shape of its future trade and development relationship with the UK.

As matters stand such relations are governed by the EU-CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). This will remain in force with the UK until the end of 2020. However, at some point possibly early next year, if the UK and EU 27 can agree what most believe will be a bespoke future trade relationship, Britain and CARIFORUM (CARICOM plus the Dominican Republic) are likely to discuss formally their post-2020 trade relationship.

He goes on to consider the wider picture in terms of expected developments in EU trade relationships;

… all this will be taking place as the Caribbean and its partners in Africa and the Pacific (the ACP) will be negotiating with the EU27 a very different form of more general post-Cotonou, post-2020, political and development agreement with Europe. In this context, CARIFORUM countries recently made clear that any such successor agreement must consider the ‘inherent and exogenous vulnerabilities’ of CARIFORUM states when it comes to the EU27’s development priorities with the ACP: an approach it may also wish to take with the UK.

And, in the context of Brexiteer claims that leaving the European Union will be compensated for by higher trade volumes with the Commonwealth, Jessop notes;

For decades now, Britain has been engaged in a process of withdrawal from the region and the reformulation of its engagement.

His view is that our relationship has become one of aid to encourage regional stability, support for maintenance of our common values such as parliamentary democracy and human rights and mutual support in multilateral bodies such as the United Nations, amongst other things.

The whole article can be found here.

Perhaps we ought to be listening to voices such as this, as part of building relationships in a post-Brexit world. And yet, the Government’s actions this week in rejecting a dialogue with Caribbean governments over the emerging number of individuals who migrated here in the Windrush years, and now apparently are at risk of being deported, will do little to enhance those future efforts.

* Mark Valladares is the Monday Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice.

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