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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14 Comments

  • Richard Underhill 16th Apr '18 - 8:02pm

    I met a man who had arrived on the Windrush. He was one of two trainers on a Home Office course.
    There was an Urgent Notice Question in the Commons this afternoon. David Lammy MP (Labour Tottenham) was passionately angry. The Speaker allowed the question as he often does. The Home Secretary was under pressure and announced a team of 20 Senior Caseworkers with no time-limit yet to deal with applications (perhaps including 2 or 3 Chief caseworkers?). She eventually remembered criminal casework and inserted an exception for ‘serious’ criminal offences. No MP asked “how serious?” Many immigration offences attract a prison sentence of precisely 12 months and ministers or very senior civil servants consequently personally sign a deportation order (NOT! to be confused with Administrative Removal). Return is therefore forbidden until and unless granted permission after at least ten years.
    It is puzzling that the Windrush generation are being described as Illegal entrants when they might appear on inadequate information to be Overstayers.
    David Lammy said that his parents arrived as BRITISH CITIZENS. Yes, this was the law because of the empire and very relevant to both world wars, but the law was changed subsequently. Grants of status to Indefinite Leave to Remain would be logical.

  • David Evans 16th Apr '18 - 8:13pm

    If these people arrived here as children and British Citizens in 1948 and have been living, working and contributing to our country since then, they should be granted full British with all necessary rights fully backdated. IMMEDIATELY.

  • David Evans 16th Apr '18 - 8:14pm

    Whoops. Spot the missing citizenship.

  • These children came in under their parents passport/visa and many just considered themselves British (and why not?) never even thought they needed to be ‘officially nationalised’… I gather the ‘new’ rules slipped in quietly in 2014 can require these child immigrants to produce 4 items of documentary proof for every year that they have been here…(I couldn’t do that)…Without that proof some are sacked, refused health treatment, pensions, etc. They are being harassed, arrested and forcibly deported to countries they have never even visited; where they know no-one.

    As for it just being ‘bureaucratic incompetence’…May, as home secretary, stated she wanted to create a ‘hostile environment’ for those whose immigration status was questionable…. When Corbyn raised the issue, months ago, about a man who had lived/worked/paid tax in the UK for 44 years, since coming in on his parent’s passport, being refused cancer treatment; May said she couldn’t help…

    What a nasty country we have become..

  • Lorenzo Cherin 17th Apr '18 - 3:18pm

    A tail end addition though welcome on the Windrush disgrace, makes up little for the obsession with Brexit herein on the site too often.

    I commented on it ages ago, it is an outrage, but no articles on these matters compared to every day more on Brexit.

    Paulene Pearce and party colleagues are active on it but where has the coverage been?

    I couldn’t even get an article to commemorate the Martin Luther King anniversary on here, as too personal apparently.

  • Good on you for trying on Martin Luther King, Lorenzo.

    My wife and I stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington where he made his great speech – on the night Barack Obama was elected. Very emotional remembering the 1960s struggles. I’m afraid the Lib Dem Party seems to be stuck in a groove obsessed with its own obsessions at the moment…. Even on Syria – all over the place.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 17th Apr '18 - 4:00pm

    David

    I was in New Jersey the same day !

    Thinking of you for the best of success with your hip operation.

    You can read the rejected article if you google my name, Lorenzo Cherin, King Maker, Ustinov Forum, it is published there if not here !

  • Katharine Pindar 17th Apr '18 - 6:35pm

    You are right, Tim 13. Mrs May is personally responsible and should be held to account. Having corresponded with her Home Office over refugees and got nowhere, I called her ‘hard-hearted May’ in one of my pieces last year but the term was deleted. What these old people from the Windrush generation have had to go through is deeply upsetting, a national shame as has been said. There should be officials in the Home Office whose function it is to intervene and help individuals who are suffering from application of general rules.

  • Peter Watson 17th Apr '18 - 7:03pm

    @Lorenzo Cherin “it is an outrage, but no articles on these matters compared to every day more on Brexit”
    Perhaps that is because at the time Mrs. May was doing these terrible things she had Lib Dem colleagues in the Cabinet and in her own department, leaving this as yet another difficult topic for Lib Dems to talk about after the Coalition.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 17th Apr '18 - 8:28pm

    Peter Watson

    This is about staff as much as goverment, the Home Office could deal with things in a competent and humane way, they as with much in government, do not.

  • I think one of the noteworthy aspects of Mark’s article is the consideration of future trade agreements from the perspective of the nations with whom the UK wishes to negotiate it’s own trade agreements. It is a shame that this Brexit through other people’s eyes hasn’t really been a part of the UK domestic debate.

    Yesterday’s BBC R4 In Business also covered this in its report on “The Global Trade Referee” (available on iPlayer Radio). What is clear the much vaulted “ink our own trade deals” is much more about a state of mind than actually getting a better deal.

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