Legislators in the BVI House of Assembly were advised to pay keen attention to the ongoing BREXIT issue in the United Kingdom as Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Dr. the Hon. Kedrick Pickering announced that the BREXIT matter will affect the Territory.
As of 23 January the news surrounding BREXIT was not rosy as business and private UK citizens pondered the approaching divorce from the European Union (EU), especially since the deal for the exit was struck down in what was described as the worst defeat in British history with United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May losing a parliamentary vote by 230.
Here in the Territory on the eve of the elections season the House of Assembly was forced to address an amendment to the Economic Substance Act that was proposed by the European Union and be cognizant of the uncertainty of being blacklisted by this major European economic block. However, the Deputy Premier noted that with the UK pulling out from the EU the BVI will be standing alone to deal with this crippling EU request.
European pundits believe Brexit will never materialise and new elections will confirm that the UK will remain in the EU. In October 2017, Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire media mogul and former mayor of New York, has said Brexit is the “single stupidest thing any country has ever done” apart from the election of Donald Trump as US president. Bloomberg argued that “it is really hard to understand why a country that was doing so well wanted to ruin it” with the Brexit vote.
Hon. Pickering called on the BVI legislators to keep abreast with the happenings with the UK EU exit: “As we go forward into the next couple of weeks into what is called the talking season I just hope that we focus some more on that big issue that is facing us its called BREXIT.”
Further the Deputy Premier suggested that much is not being done to make the public aware of the significance of this raging BREXIT issue. “You know we should have a lot of debate in the discussion about how are these issues going to affect our economy. How is it going to affect the very pillars on which we stand? How is it going to affect our daily lives?”
“A debate that is looming in the United Kingdom that we probably pay peripheral attention to, and we certainly need to be paying very close attention to because with matters like that no matter what the outcome is.”
In tying the BREXIT concern with the EU substance request the Deputy Premier said: “In one of the discussions Madame Speaker the question was asked how is Brexit going to affect even this piece of legislation that we are trying to pass and the answer was even more gloomy because if the United Kingdom exits the EU we no longer even have a voice around the table to be able to look out for us even if we think right now that that voice is limited in its support of us; even if we think right now that they could fight more – put up a more stronger fight on our behalf. Even if we think that is the case now if they exit the EU we won’t have a voice at all.”
Therefore, he urged legislators to be mindful that during and after the election there will be a major issue to deal with as it relates to BREXIT and the BVI’s interaction with the European Union: “There are even bigger fights that are ahead of us, there is a bigger war that is looming and maybe this is just preliminary preparations for what is to come so those of us that is going to be fighting to be back in this house have almost a moral obligation to help our people to understand and appreciate that no matter who takes over the ring of government there is a fight a head and it is not going be an easy fight and we better be careful we don’t be carrying buckets full of holes carrying water up the hill because BREXIT is going to be a major issue going forward for us.”
Hon. Pickering added: “The UK is scheduled to exit the EU on the 29 March deal or no deal – [This] gets more and more complicated.”