Advertisement
JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Caribbean is being urged to strengthen its regional community and economy through CARICOM, as well as the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), in light of Britain’s pending exit from the European Union (EU).
  • Former Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding, said he expects that the Caribbean’s trading arrangements with the EU will remain intact through the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the region.
  • The EU is also the second largest trading partner of the Caribbean region.

The Caribbean is being urged to strengthen its regional community and economy through CARICOM, as well as the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), in light of Britain’s pending exit from the European Union (EU).

This call came out of a forum titled, ‘BREXIT: Implications for the Caribbean’, which was hosted by the Office of the Vice Chancellor of the University of West Indies (UWI), in collaboration with the UWI, Mona’s Department of Economics and the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CaPRI).

The forum was held at the UWI Regional Headquarters on June 29 and included a panel discussion and an academic symposium to facilitate discussion on the implications of a vote in the United Kingdom on June 23 for that nation to withdraw from the EU.

Former Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding, said he expects that the Caribbean’s trading arrangements with the EU will remain intact through the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the region.

He pointed out that countries in the region will have to seek to negotiate new arrangements with Britain as that country prepares for the exit over the next two years.

For his part, UWI Vice Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, said the region must move quickly to protect and enhance the ACP group and by extension the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM).

“The ACP has been the primary recipient of over €1 billion of development grant and support, of which the Caribbean is a great beneficiary. We cannot afford to risk losing out on the European development funding models that we have put in place to bring development grants and support to region. We have to move to consolidate this,” he urged.

The EU is also the second largest trading partner of the Caribbean region.

Professor Beckles called on the governments of the region to consider the establishment of a task force which will thoroughly examine and research all aspects of Caribbean-EU relations. Data from this research, he suggested, should be used to inform leaders and aid decision making.

He said there should also be strengthening of the conversations about the EPAs, with a view to renegotiate and recommit to the agreements.