UWI Vice Chancellor urged close regional unity in light of Brexit

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UWI Vice Chancellor urged close regional unity in light of Brexit
Sir Hilary Beckles
Sir Hilary Beckles
Sir Hilary Beckles

PRESS RELEASE – Reaching the limits of emotional despair over how to manage its post-imperial, ethnic nationalism and challenged to participate in the global world as an equal partner, the English have retreated to their traditional identity base at the expense of every other consideration.

It has taken this strategic step in order to go forward as old England versus the world. This is a desperate attempt to reinvent a still idealized past in which ‘Englishness’ is celebrated as a distinct standard not to be entangled or diminished by deep association.

The predictable, highly individualistic action poses both a short-term as well as a long-term threat to the performance of Caricom economies, and should trigger immediate strategic regional reactions even before Heads meet in Guyana next week.

Every aspect of Caribbean life will be adversely affected by this development; from trade relations to immigration, tourism to financial relations, and cultural engagements to foreign policy. There will be a significant redefinition and reshaping of Caricom-UK engagements. The region’s fragile economic recovery is threatened.

Caricom should use this development in order to deepen and strengthen its internal operations and external relations to the wider world. It’s a moment for Caricom to come closer together rather than drift apart. The region should not be seen as mirroring this mentality of cultural and political insularity, but should reaffirm the importance of regionalism within the global context for the future.

Those driving the “leave” agenda knew very well the likelihood of broad based negative global effects of their option but chose to jettison external obligations, a critical feature of hyper-conservative, extreme nationalism.

Next week The UWI will host a symposium in Mona, Jamaica as an in-depth academic reflection on the relevant themes, with a view to facilitating regional action ahead of the Caricom Conference of Heads of Government. This UK development should not be taken lightly; it should be fully researched as it constitutes an obvious structural threat to the sustainability of economic institutions in the region.

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