Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Dr. the Hon. Kedrick Pickering announced that residents and legislators should be closely monitoring the upcoming UK referendum, which will decide whether the Territory’s mother country remains part of the European Union (EU) or leave the organization.
Hon. Pickering said that the decision will be very important to the Territory and while speaking in the House of Assembly on 24 March he urged the members of the House to pay attention to the referendum.
This is not the first time that the United Kingdom held a referendum on EU membership. In fact, one was done in 1975, and at that time the result favored staying in the organization.
Years later the UK is pushing the referendum topic again; and it is suggested that the influx of eastern Europeans into the country is the driving force of the exercise. Reports say that UK citizens feel that the eastern European migrants usurp benefits that were put in place for the country’s citizens such as housing and healthcare.
On the other hand, persons in favor of the UK remaining in the EU explained that by exiting the EU, the UK will be pulling away from its major trade market and will still have to deal with compliance matters, but no longer have a say in EU decisions.
From the BVI perspective, the Deputy Premier encourages all to keep abreast of the referendum which UK media has termed ‘Brexit.” Hon. Pickering told the House: “As elected officials we have to pay attention to what is going to happen if Britain leaves the EU. That is a small issue on our radar right now, it could become a big issue in the next couple of months.”
The Deputy Premier said citizens and legislators ought to ponder on the effect the decision will have: “How is this going to affect where we (BVI) stand as a country, as an evolving nation if Britain leaves the EU. It ain’t a small issue.”
“It ain’t something we can ignore otherwise we gonna wake up, and realize what is happening here, what went wrong. We have to pay attention to the constitutional issues of the country,” Hon. Pickering explained.
Pundits see the referendum as a futile exercise especially after the EU recently made special concessions to the UK. The business sector and financial sector in the UK are completely against Brexit as they view it as an apocalyptic development that will ruin the British economy for decades. It is widely expected that the issue will be politicized to the max, thereby distorting it – a fatal mistake by all definitions.