Editorial

Beyond Britain’s Brexit Blues

Image of Theresa May

British Prime Minister Theresa May has forever faced Brexit Blues.

From Day One, she took office promising to deliver the best Brexit deal possible. But, considering that her Conservative Party had opposed Brexit and she took office only after Prime Minister David Cameron resigned following the Tory defeat in the June 23rd, 2016 Brexit referendum, it was clear she had a hard road to travel and a long, long way to go.

Brexit under May was always a difficult sell. The negotiations that followed in Brussels were anything but easy, as the European Union (EU) was never in any mood to let London just unilaterally divorce and walk away after 40 years.

Mrs May fought opponents within her party and in the opposition, but she always walked a tightrope over broken bottles.

Many Britons felt the UK needed a Brexiteer at Number 10 Downing Street after the referendum, as PM May was never seen as having the required enthusiasm. Now that she’s delivered a 500-plus Brexit deal, the Prime Minister can be expected to have to defend every page between now and when the British MPs vote on the issue in a few days’ time.

Many feel that with Cabinet ministers having resigned – including the Brexit Secretary – PM May will have to fight for her very survival when the confidence vote comes. But those close to her feel she will not give up until or unless she is defeated on the House floor.

Mrs May insists she will deliver on the people’s vote and says British voters will judge MPs according to their vote, even while many are already counting her losses.

The Britons are battling over Brexit at the moment and whether or not Mrs May survives a leadership battle in her party, it will be expected to deliver on her deal – and Britain will be leaving the EU come next year.

So, what are the implications for Saint Lucia, the OECS, CARICOM, the British Commonwealth and other developing countries around the world with similar long-lasting relationships with Britain?

CARICOM has had all the opportunities these past three years to do the analyses band and take the necessary actions. But while much has been said, not much has been written to help citizens of developing countries better understand what Brexit is and its implications.

One Saint Lucian diplomat, however, has long put pen to paper on the issue and what’s he’s written can certainly help Third World citizens better understand what’s behind what’s happening in the UK and the EU today.

Ambassador Edwin Laurent, currently Saint Lucia’s Ambassador to Taiwan, last year joined four other scholars to research, document and published an 86-page book entitled After Brexit… Securing Economic Interests.

Laurent, Lorand Bartels, Paul Goodison, Paula Hippolyte and Sindra Sharma’s book explains how Brexit will affect trade and economic relations with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries – the group which will be most affected by Brexit.

“Therefore,” Laurent says in the Foreword, “it would be essential for them (ACP countries) to have as clear an understanding as possible of the precise implications of Brexit, so that they could seek to avoid or minimise any negative consequences and identify and capitalise on opportunities that arise or which they might create.”

He also warns that “The threats that Brexit can pose to ACP economic interests are real and should not be underestimated or ignored. A united Group that pursues a well-informed, comprehensive and effective strategy will enhance the prospect of achieving its shared objectives and prospering in the post-Brexit era.”

Clear words from the wise.

This publication is essential reading for anyone wishing to better understand what’ll be at stake after Brexit – and it comes highly recommended.

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