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BREXIT’s implications for the Caribbean, as Jamaica establishes Commission

Guyana's Foreign Minister, Carl Greenidge and Caricom Secretary General, Irwin La Rocque briefing Guyanese media representatives and technical officials about the Caricom summit scheduled to be held here from July 4 to 6, 2016.

Guyana’s Foreign Minister, Carl Greenidge and Caricom Secretary General, Irwin La Rocque briefing Guyanese media representatives and technical officials about the Caricom summit scheduled to be held here from July 4 to 6, 2016.

University of the West Indies (UWI) International Relations Professor, Mark Kirton said Jamaica, which is about to assess its place in the Caribbean regional integration  movement, would likely consider Britons’ vote to leave the European Union (EU).

“This BREXIT (Britain’s exit) may have some impact on the assessment of Jamaica’s participation in the regional integration effort,” Kirton, a former Vice Chancellor at the University of Guyana, told Demerara Waves Online News.

He noted that Caricom’s benefits to Jamaica will be assessed by the Commission that has been established in the context of that Caribbean island’s closer affinity to the United States (US) than the rest of the region. “Is that a reason or a cause for a re-assessment of Jamaica’s position in Caricom?; whether or not the benefits that accrue from Jamaica’s engagement in Caricom are sufficient for its sustainability- I think that’s the major question,” he said.

Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Andrew Holness has said that the Commission would review Jamaica’s role in the Caricom Single Market  with the hope of strengthening its participation.

Kirton noted that given the fact that Caricom continues to engage nationals of member states may not result in the same kind of BREXIT approach by Jamaica. “We have to be concerned about its impact on the regional integration process,” he added.

Professor Mark Kirton.

Professor Mark Kirton.

Kirton’s comments were made ahead of the Secretary General of the 15-nation Caribbean Community (Caricom), Irwin La Rocque on Saturday saying that the region would lose a key voice in the European Union (EU) with the expected withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from that trade bloc.

“We have to, of course, be concerned because the United Kingdom is a significant player in the arrangements in the European Union in terms of a voice, that also being a Commonwealth country but a voice as well in the European Union and the fact that it is a significant contributor to the European Union and off course the budget of the European Development Fund,” he told a news conference.

Caricom leaders, he said, are expected to discuss the  implications of the UK’s  ‘ýes vote’at the referendum to leave the EU at their summit scheduled to be held in Guyana from July 4 to 6, 2016.  Except for Suriname and Haiti, the 12 other Caricom members are former British colonies while Montserrat is a British dependency.

The Caricom Secretary General did not forecast that the Caribbean’s relationship with Europe would deteriorate as a result of the UK’s expected opting out of the EU. “I do not anticipate any diminishing of the relationship with the United Kingdom or with the European Union in any way at all,” he said.

While describing Caricom-Europe relations as very strong,” La Rocque said the region would be watching the developments very carefully.

Guyana’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Greenidge forecast that after the EDF expires in 2020, there might be changes in the predominantly Eastern Europe –dominated EU. “The UK is a voice in the EU for the Caribbean. I don’t want to suggest to you that none of the other countries is interested but the grouping of 27 is a different grouping from what used to be a grouping of 12 or 13, with a bias to Eastern or Central Europe many of whom did not have close or continuing and long-standing relations with the region,” said Greenidge, a , a former Deputy Secretary General of the 77-nation group of former European colonies in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP).

He said the Caribbean would eventually have to hold separate talks with the UK and rely more on Germany and France as voices in the EU.

The Guyanese Foreign Minister added that he did not believe that the EU’s allocation of financing to the Caribbean through the European Development (EDF) was in jeopardy because of Britain’s exit. “The commitment that the EU has made is a legal commitment. They can’t go and reduce that envelope because the UK is leaving,” said Greenidge” he said.

The EU is providing €346 million to the Caribbean Regional Programme for regional economic cooperation and integration, climate change, environment, disaster management and sustainable energy and crime and security.

  • Surujpaul Rampersaud

    Some of the reasons for Brexit are currently existing. Guyanese workers are ldisliked in several CARICOM member states. The Guyanese are seen as threats in the labor market and are treated with mistrust.

    • Col123

      “Workers” is the operative word here. …It does dot hold true for Guyanese professionals or even those from other countries. Professionals such as teachers, nurses, doctors,,others.. who meet the qualification and license/certification for their profession are well respected within those society…Take a look at St Lucia and Cayman Islands…Guyanese teachers are like diety there….as far as England and US…..and will see how Guyanese and other professionals fit in well within the communities… NOW…take the unskilled , untrained…let me state that I have the utmost respect for these folks who work extremely hard to get up the ladder…they are taking jobs in these countries and are easy targets for politicians and hate mongers…BUT…take away these workers from the work force ….see what happens to the price of tomatoes, oranges,potatoes,hotel rooms..etc…Georgia lost five million in lost crops left to rot in the fields…they banned migrant workers that year…same with Michigan with their cherry crop…..

      • Surujpaul Rampersaud

        Agreed. We are now on the same page. Unskilled labor is in demand in farming or there will be jump in prices. Tell this to Donald Trump who touts immigrants as the source of the problems in the US.

  • MEMES Unlimited

    Skilled and experienced labor is certainly the key factor in Caricom and worldwide. Additionally, skilled labor with higher paying jobs (pension funds), tend to gravitate to a higher level of moral and ethical conduct in their competitive and rewarding fields.
    The Donald Trump issue EXACTLY describes the populous temperament pushing back against globalization that promised nations reaping of greater financial and labor rewards through economic integration and cooperation with “some” sacrifice of sovereignty and free movement of skilled and pre-qualified labor….undoubtedly the biggest public referendum currently, regarding a rethink on open trade and open IMMIGRATION policies associated with globalization. NAFTA agreement costs the USA in excess of 800k jobs and destroyed many local economies.

    Farming, as a business, in today’s highly competitive world, impacted by shrinking water and arable land resources, and the urgent requirement for inputing leading edge proven technology; has little to gain from unskilled labor to plant, reap and process the products; in the USA, Guyana (cane farming with excessive manual inputs to plant/reap), and elsewhere. Robotic and autonomous type technologies is the only way to profitability and competitive viability…period. As harsh as it may sound, the unskilled immigrants, are , indeed a direct problem that negates the development and deployment of such technological advances, necessary in today’s industrial/information world. A host of additional crime related problems arise with excessive unskilled immigrants seeking the good life in an untimely manner when cash is urgently required back home.

    “The age of globalization has certainly ended” (Fredrik Erixon, director of the European Center for International Political Economy in Brussels)…..”With one fell swoop, the world order has been turned upside down overnight, and where the chaos stops, no one knows” (Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist for Mitsubishi UFG Financial Group”). There is no short term turning back this wave of nationalism initiated in the EU, potentially extending out to Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Greece, Netherlands; in the EU (and further afield) being the most ambitious post-World War 11 experiment in globalization….watch out Hillary, Trump seems to have timing on his side!!!

    • Col123

      M….Just a third of what you stated is true. The facts are there on the ground…despite all the mechanization and technology available. How do you answer to those bus loads of migrant workers going to the farmland in Georgia, Texas, Florida?..and what mechanization is available to clean the hotels and make those beds?…Granted, a lot of jobs will disappear in the future…BUT…what remains will be that level of “slave labor” with “slave wages”…Also, contractors in US are noted to hire “illegals” for unskilled work…As a matter of fact, illegal immigration can be solved in a month…just jail those who hire illegals and confiscate their assets…Illegal immigration will stop immediately …but, a pound of tomatoes will cost you twenty bucks…

      • MEMES Unlimited

        ….And therein lies the conundrum…how to keep the costs stable and reasonable within the means of the worldwide working class, comprising billions of people, and the inexorable march of technology/smart mechanization, which by itself allows the very existence of the bulging population increases (7.4 billion and counting) to that of providing sustainable employment and earnings for the unskilled/not so well educated masses. It is only with the build out of technologically advanced and innovative smart mechanization that those very same stable living expenses/living conditions can be maintained in every aspect with fusion energy/photonic energy capture…solar, artificial photosynthesis production of energy products/GMO crops/aquaponics with smart mechanized systems to produce fish & crops…with ever shrinking manpower inputs, to cost effectively feed the masses.

        In the absence of the build out of technology in agriculture specifically, feeding the ever increasing human population is impossible and those very same technological machine advances serves to increasingly shrink the employment numbers, marginalizing and impoverishing the working class masses further.

        The politicians are stuck between a rock and a very hard place, whereby, if they were to allow the unfettered (subsidies, tax breaks) development of technology (robotic, semi-autonomous, autonomous systems), then resultant massive unemployment (machines to plant, reap, maintain hotels, drive taxis, etc.) generates civil conflicts that can destroy and derail that very same necessary input to sustain life for the huge and ever increasing population…without the technology and machines (inclusive of medical drugs & medical technology) we would have never attained the current population, and likewise going forward with + 9 billion humans by 2050 projections, cannot sustain those masses with energy, food, shelter, and medical drugs & technology.