My Fellow citizens and residents
On June 23, 2016 the citizens and residents of the United Kingdom formally voted in a referendum to leave the European Union (EU), a phenomenon known as BREXIT. Though that decision may not be the desire of a number of our citizens and residents of Montserrat and those in the diaspora, the same reflects the will of the British voters as per the parliamentary system of democracy that we operate, in the Commonwealth group of nations.
The leave vote has created uncertainty both in the United Kingdom, European Union, internationally and right here in our beloved Montserrat, which is a British Overseas Territory (BoT).
Within the UK, we have seen Prime Minister David Cameron indicating his resignation from the office of Prime Minister within three (3) months, creating political uncertainty within the ranks of the leadership of the UK. Furthermore, political uncertainties have also been created with what appears to be an overwhelming vote by Scotland and Northern Ireland (key member countries in the United Kingdom) to remain in the European Union.
Economically and financially, we have seen an immediate fall in the British pound, which is a major international trading currency against other key international currencies. This has been coupled with a rapid decline in the stock market indices both in the British and major global financial markets throughout the world.
On the European continent, we have heard of calls by significant political and administrative personalities in the European Union for Britain to quickly negotiate its exit strategy and terms of agreement for its exit of the European Union. At the same time, we have also heard of calls for calm in the United Kingdom by the significant players in the BREXIT leave campaign who are likely to emerge as the political leadership in Britain. Similarly, we have noted that the possibilities exist for similar BREXIT type votes by other members of the European Union. Ireland, which shares a land border with the United Kingdom has recalled parliament for an urgent sitting to discuss their future trade and free movements arrangements with the United Kingdom. Moreover, Spain has also called for joint control of Gibraltar, which is a British Overseas Territory that shares borders and has close ties to Spain.
These major developments which have now arisen and will continue to emerge will no doubt place a cloud of uncertainty over the future and well-being of British Overseas Territories and in particular Montserrat. We pray for the uncertainty to diminish in the coming days, weeks and months as the UK and EU Authorities work out the terms of British exit from the European Union and the global financial markets settle.
What is certain, however, is that a change is coming, and that the aid arrangements and financing assistance that Montserrat receives both from the UK and the European Union will be impacted, if not in the short term, in the medium to long term.
Issues such as the free movement of British citizens to include Montserratians throughout the European Union will depend upon the exit arrangement negotiated between the British and the European Union. Furthermore, the issue as it relates to the credibility of the British Citizenship internationally has now become a talking point.
Our brothers and sisters in the OECS and the wider Caricom would also be impacted as they will now be required to negotiate new economic partnership arrangements or similar type of trade arrangements with Great Britain.
MCAP has been at the forefront locally and regionally in terms of promoting an understanding of BREXIT and the possible implications regardless of a vote to leave or to remain. Citizens and Residents of Montserrat along with our neighbours within the OECS, the wider Caricom and other OCT countries would have listened to our programme "VIEW POINT" and would have gain a better understanding of the BREXIT implications.
In this regard, MCAP would like to express a heartfelt thanks to its members Dr Samauel Joseph, Mr Jermaine Wade and Economic and Financial Analyst Mr Peter Queeley for their efforts made thus far to edify and educate the public on the various issues relating to BREXIT. MCAP endeavours to continue its efforts to provide clarification and lead of the issue of BREXIT and the various possible implications in these very uncertain times.
MCAP’s political leader, Reuben T Meade as early as the 2016/2017 Budget debate in March 2016, called upon the PDM Administration to publicly clarify its position on the BREXIT issue and to put in place a contingency plan in the event of a vote to leave or remain.
Additionally, MCAP’s Interim Chairman, Mr Jermaine Wade has repeatedly called on the PDM Administration to speak publicly to the BREXIT issue, and to communicate with the people of Montserrat, the Government’s contingency plans in the event of a British vote to leave the European Union.
To date, MCAP calls have fallen on deaf ears and today our beloved Montserrat, a British Overseas Territory finds itself caught in the middle of a BREXIT leave vote without any clear position from our Government as it relates to the way forward. What is even more critical is that Montserrat is the only British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean region that receives granting aid, and our indicative aid assistance from the EU is also the largest of all the EU overseas territories in the Caribbean region.
MCAP regards itself as a Government in waiting, and as such the party is called upon to show leadership, due to the fact that leadership is clearly not one of the tenants and facets of the PDM Administration, elected to govern the affairs of Montserrat in September 2014.
In this regard, the MCAP leadership will urgently convene a public forum for the citizens and residents of Montserrat to express their opinions and concerns regarding the BREXIT vote and for MCAP to answer any questions and provide clarifications to the concerns of the populous.
Moreover, MCAP calls upon the Premier and the PDM Administration to urgently meet with officials from the British Overseas Territories and the wider Caricom Grouping to discuss the issues, concerns and implications of Britain leaving the European Union and to chart a way forward. MCAP volunteers its services in providing any technical assistance to the Government of Montserrat regarding the issues surrounding BREXIT
May God Continue To Bless Our Beloved Montserrat At This Crucial Time!
Movement For Change and Prosperity (MCAP).