Jun 29, 2016 Editorial
The pound sterling tumbled to a 31-year low and world markets are struggling to cope with the fallout from the leave vote. Why would a group of enlightened people in Britain cast a vote to hurt themselves and most others in today’s civilized and modern world?
The people were forewarned of the grave economic and political consequences that would follow if they vote for Britain to leave the EU. Immediately after the vote, the youths claimed that the pensioners who had already lived a full life have now ruined theirs by voting for the Brexit.
But when all is said and done, the fault lies squarely on the shoulders of Prime Minister David Cameron who did not have to hold a referendum. He was not forced by the electorate to hold one but he did, despite the fact that he was warned by some members of his own party not to hold a referendum on such a sensitive issue in such harsh economic times.
But in his own wisdom, he felt that a referendum which he thought he would have won would have quelled the Eurosceptic right wing parties who wanted Britain to leave the EU.
He gambled and he lost and his actions have cost him the Prime Minister-ship and essentially his political career. He will be remembered as the Prime Minister who made the greatest political blunder of any British head of state in the last century.
Mr. Cameron had grossly underestimated the enduring nature and the strength of the Eurosceptic support in the country and also the extent of the bitterness inside his own party. As an astute politician, he should have known that democracy does not necessarily mean that the electorate have to vote on every government decision. Democracy means that the role of the electorate is to elect governments to govern them and make decisions on their behalf for the greater good of their respective nations.
The vote by Britain to step out of the EU is a wakeup call that the future of international and regional alliances could be in jeopardy. Not only is the leave vote regrettable, but it is also a great test for Europe, the European unification process, and Britain itself which must move urgently to solidify itself in response to the economic and financial disasters that have emerged since last Thursday.
There must be a revitalized effort by Europeans to dampen the huge rise in populist and prospects of the Eurosceptic parties. Some European leaders including Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Francois Hollande have stated that the leave vote could be the start of a dangerous path backwards for the peoples of Europe and the world.
The leaders of CARICOM will obviously be looking very closely at what is happening in the British economy and are committed to work to try to lessen its impact on their direct trade relations and investment decisions with Britain. It is speculated that the CARICOM nations would no longer enjoy all of the trading benefits that the UK have enjoyed being part of the EU tax free zone. This in of itself could reap havoc on the economies of countries of the Caribbean, including Guyana. Britain’s departure from the EU will no doubt have significant implications for CARICOM-UK relations and possibly for CARICOM-EU relations.
Britain’s next move seems uncertain because of the absence of leadership to guide the country, but there has to be an end game in order to steady and move Britain and the 27-nation EU forward. The greatest fear is that the leave vote could result in a chain reaction that could further divide Europe, as far-right leaders in France and the Netherlands have called for their countries to hold their own referendum on EU membership. It could also lead to Scotland holding a similar referendum in its quest to exit from Britain. It is going to be a wait and see approach.
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