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Monday, 10 April 2017

Because of Brexit, CARICOM needs to control its own destiny

There will always be the haves and the have nots of this world, the rich and poor, the upper, middle and lower classes. And in the global economy, there are the countries that are referred to as the super powers and then there are countries that are not even a part of the equation because they have no power at all. Let’s be realistic here. The Caribbean and the small islands around the world have a dependency on at least one or more of the super powers when it comes to their economy. It is like a big brother/big sister relationship. If something should happen to the larger country that takes on that role, then the smaller country has to brace themselves for the repercussions. Let me bring that into perspective for you as it relates to Britain and the Caribbean. The most recent exit of Britain from the European Union (EU), referred to as Brexit, is having a resounding impact that is being felt throughout the world and the Caribbean region is speaking out about its impact. Britain (also referred to as the United Kingdom) usually looked out for the developing countries. It is being said that the EU is “losing a voice for liberal, open trading arrangements.” The Caribbean governments have been strategizing how to regain ground in the global trade market if things should start going in the negative direction. Even before the vote to exit the EU took place, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was already speculating on its fate. They knew that their main link to trading in the European Union was through Britain because they do not have a direct agreement signed with the EU. According to reports, “when Britain joined the European Economic Community in 1973 (now the European Union), it transferred all authority for its trade agreements to the community. Since that time, the formal trade, aid and investment relations between the 12 Caribbean countries has been accomplished through the Lome Convention, the Cotonou Agreement and the Economic Partnership Agreement.” The countries under CARICOM sought counsel from the experts at the University of the West Indies back in June 2016. At that time, the vice chancellor, Sir Hilary Beckles, cautioned them not to wait complacently. He told them to immediately create a task force to monitor the developments and research options that would be proactive to keeping the small nations from experiencing an economic downfall.

Source: Phillytrib