British overseas territories minister James Duddridge was an ardent supporter of the United Kingdom’s bid to leave the European Union earlier this year.
Recently, Mr. Duddridge has conveyed to the Cayman Islands Premier that withdrawing from the European Union createsan important opportunity for Britain toretool its relationships with her majesty’s overseas territories. It has been hinted that the British government is going to be shifting a greater deal of its consideration and focus to the commonwealth nations as it breaks ties with continental Europe.
In a letter to Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin, Mr. Duddridge openly admitted that BREXIT presented a great number of unique challenges. Since the shocking referendum passed, neither the UK government nor those that championed leaving the European Union have shown that they have any semblance of a plan to deal with the withdrawal. Then-Prime Minister David Cameron, who staunchly opposed leaving the European Union, left the logistics of the exit to his successor Theresa May when he announced his resignation shortly after the referendum result came in.Moreover, while many British people have voiceda sort of ‘post-referendum regret’, the British government has embraced the result and has stated that they are at a point-of-no-return and BREXIT is imminent.
So what does all of this tumult mean for us here in the Cayman Islands?Well that remains to be seen. As a dependent territory of the United Kingdom, we assuredly will be impacted when BREXIT is finalized. For starters, the freedom of movement through and between the 27 member states(which had previously included Caymanians under the UK umbrella) will cease to exist.There could also be an issue with the EU stamped passports once the withdrawal is complete. The Premier issued a statement that said Cayman would continue to closely follow the political deliberations and developments as the United Kingdom removes itself from the European Union. He also stated that Cayman has verbal and written assurance from Minister Duddridge that he will continue to actively represent the interests of the British Overseas Territories and ensure that they are fully contemplated. It seems that the Premier has high hopes for the overseas territories post-BREXIT as he has repeatedly stated that the Cayman Islands and the United Kingdom would continue to maintain an excellent relationship.
How the other UK members will react to the BREXIT is anyone’s guess. Will Scotland opt for independence and seek admission into the EU in the wake of the UK withdrawal? How about the other territories in the greater Caribbean region such as Anguilla, Bermuda or the British Virgin Islands? Details will surely be forthcoming as the Joint Ministerial Council Meeting is set to being in Turks and Caicos at the end of July 2016.