Turning the Brexit Lemon into Lemonade for Caribbean Countries

brexit1Alicia Nicholls

In a non-binding referendum on June 23, 2016 the British public by a 52 to 48% margin voted for the United Kingdom (UK) to withdraw from the European Union (EU). Although the UK has not yet triggered Article 50 of the Treaty of European Union (Treaty of Lisbon), there is understandable concern among Caribbean […]

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29 Comments on “Turning the Brexit Lemon into Lemonade for Caribbean Countries”

  1. Vincent Haynes July 28, 2016 at 8:45 AM #

    An on point article to which I will add that Boris during his campaign continously made reference to the fact that brexit would allow the UK to return to its former commonwealth relationship…….I recall the EU was blamed for destroying our sugar and bannana industries.

    Its left to our leaders to seize the momment.


  2. Hal Austin July 28, 2016 at 9:08 AM #

    Who says the referendum is non-binding? Some constitutional experts think it is advisory, and others that it is binding. It is still unresolved. But in a parliamentary democracy, parliament is king. A referendum cannot bind parliament.
    Then we have the issue of the regions: London, Scotland and Northern Ireland all voted to remain. A simple majority voting to leave cannot bind the rest of the nation. Parliament, not the Supreme Court, will determine that.
    In any case, apart from tourism, and the UK – the biggest market – i going through tough economic times. Long haul tourism is a luxury. The claim the Caribbean, presumably the English-speaking Caribbean, can benefit from Brexit is economic nonsense.


  3. Enuff July 28, 2016 at 9:22 AM #

    Agree with you Hal!


  4. Bernard Codrington. July 28, 2016 at 12:19 PM #

    @ Hal

    Did Parliament through the PM refer the matter to the electorate? Is a referendum legal but unconstitutional ? What about morality? The article is a good essay. Economically ,it changes nothing for the Caribbean.


  5. Pachamama July 28, 2016 at 12:35 PM #

    @ Bernard Codrington

    Britain has no written constitution. It is a legal fiction to presume there is.

    Therefore anybody can say that some mystical ‘constitution’ says this and says that. And many do.

    That country has been always pretending that there is as represented in amorphous elements of common law.

    We judged in our article and ahead of time, on this subject, what the results will be. Meaning people voting to leave but the bureaucrats will then proceed to stymie the will of the people.

    That the two major antagonists had withdrawn from their campaigns should have been hints

    But none of this is new. In most countries, studies have found, that the things which are most important to most of the people can’t happen.


  6. Due Diligence July 28, 2016 at 1:59 PM #

    June 27, 2016


    “What fallout?
    Sealy confident that UK visitors will still come

    It remains this island’s leading market for tourists, with officials reporting a ten per cent rise in arrivals during the first quarter of this year, making for 24 consecutive months of boom or 71,263 stay over arrivals out of the United Kingdom.

    However, as the result of last week’s UK referendum on membership in the European Union continues to sink in, there are growing fears of the impact on this island’s bread and butter tourism industry, even as Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy seeks to be the voice of calm in the midst of the global upheaval.

    Today, he sought to allay concerns that Britain’s pending exit from the EU, based on last week’s vote to leave, commonly referred to as the “Brexit” vote, might lead to “fallout” in terms of tourist arrivals from that territory.

    Speaking to reporters after a short tour of the Sam Lord’s Castle site, where demolition has officially started to make way for a new Wyndham Grand Hotel, Sealy suggested that the vote would not affect the island’s tourism.

    In reference to the fact that the UK was Barbados’ biggest source market, he said, “That is the case now, it was the case last week, and it will be the case next week, whether they are part of the EU or not”.

    He however acknowledged that the tourism industry was sensitive to currency values, pointing out that the pound sterling had always been a “fickle currency”, as it fluctuated quite often.

    “These issues are not necessarily new. To be frank I am just happy that some sense of closure has been brought to this issue of whether they’re in or out. And, the truth is that Barbados has to do what we have to do. The brand is extremely strong in the UK and that is not going to change, and we have to continue to work hard,” the Minister of Tourism underscored.”

    Sealy trying to turn Brexit lemon into Bajan lemon aid

    July 27, 2016

    Seems the fallout has started


    “ROYAL WESTMORELAND has sent home 19 workers as it feels the pinch of expired contracts and a weaker British pound.

    Now faced with “a marked slowdown in property sales activity”, the St James-based luxury residential and golf resort has decided to take on “the exchange risk” in an effort to attract foreign home buyers.

    These developments were confirmed by Royal Westmoreland chief executive officer Greg Schofield and director of sales Kim Goddard.

    While denying reports that the company had retrenched 40 per cent of its staff, they told the MIDWEEK NATION they had to cut staff at a time when the market for their properties had softened.”

    Not clear what is meant by “the St James-based luxury residential and golf resort has decided to take on “the exchange risk” in an effort to attract foreign home buyers.”

    But, does not look like lemon aid at Royal Westmoreland.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. David July 28, 2016 at 2:46 PM #

    Here is what we know: a weak UK pound and a 3 year window to Brexit. If the script is followed it means an unprecedented period of uncertainty for the global economy.



  8. Pachamama July 28, 2016 at 2:54 PM #


    Brexit is just a side issue with no direct causation to a ‘depressed’ world economy.

    In fact, the reverse is true.


  9. Well Well & Consequences July 28, 2016 at 2:57 PM #

    Due Diligence. ..Sealy is an idiot, he needs to come out of those holes ans see the light.


  10. Well Well & Consequences July 28, 2016 at 3:06 PM #


    Don’t worry…Donville Inniss will give the Canadian criminal element concessions to create jobs in Barbados, then the local criminal element in the minority business community will demand their concessions and more taxpayer funded contracts……..and more criminal element will find their way to Barbados cause the ministers are allowing it and….buena suerte.


  11. Due Diligence July 28, 2016 at 4:20 PM #


    Dean Del Mastro should fit right in with the politicians in his new favourite place.

    Former MP Dean Del Mastro jailed after losing appeal in elections case.

    Ontario judge dismisses former Conservative MP’s appeal of conviction and sentence


    But he will nave to go to jail in the land where vote buying is not prosecuted; much less election overspending.


  12. Hal Austin July 28, 2016 at 4:32 PM #

    Bernard, the position at present is that there is a stand-off. Some constitutional experts are saying that the referendum result is advisory, that it is not binding. The Harvard-educated Guyanese lawyer David Lammy is calling for a second referendum.
    As a parliamentary democracy, parliament can only b bound by parliamentary decisions, not referenda.
    In any case, prime minister May says Brexit means Brexit. We have to see how that works out. What I predict is a steady decline of the UK economy, given that every prime minister since Harold Wilson has turned his/her back on the Commonwealth, the largest trading bloc in the world with 53 members.
    Germany and in particular France are going to tough it out – no EU, no free movement, no single market.
    We are living in interesting times. Googling information and applying ‘common sense’ to it is not proper education.
    As to tourism, the Caribbean has had eight years since the global crisis to diversify and they are still bogged down in economic squalor.


  13. Due Diligence July 28, 2016 at 4:40 PM #


    But he will NOT have to go to jail in the land where vote buying is not prosecuted; much less election overspending.


  14. chad99999 July 28, 2016 at 5:19 PM #

    Brexit is only a short term economic problem. Once the pound stabilizes at a lower level, British exports will become more competitive and the British economy will recover. The British will get plenty of help in charting new trading relationships from the US, Canada, Australia, India, etc. If all else fails, they can turn their universities into global education factories.
    Of course, they’re caught up in the feminism thing and have appointed a clueless, feeble-minded woman (a geography major if you can believe it) to the top job. Now that’s their biggest problem. As Germany is discovering, never put a woman in a man’s job.


  15. Bajan in NY July 28, 2016 at 5:45 PM #

    @ chad99999 July 28, 2016 at 5:19 PM #

    I can wait to read Donna’s response to your post (lol)


  16. Bajan in NY July 28, 2016 at 5:46 PM #

    Sorry, that shoud read I can’t wait…….


  17. David July 28, 2016 at 5:52 PM #


    There is the realty that the Pound precipitous fall is linked to the outcome of the referendum.

    Further, financial markets are largely driven by speculation and thy will have 3 years to speculate. This does not bode well for the business climate.


  18. Colonel Buggy July 28, 2016 at 5:53 PM #

    And what a pity that some of our own politicians did not major in Geography,as it usually take them about 5 years to finally find their way around their respective constituencies.


  19. Well Well & Consequences July 28, 2016 at 5:57 PM #

    Due…it’s only the criminals Inniss appears to be capable of inviting as business people to the island, it’s only the minority criminals both governments allow to succeed in business in the island.

    Chadx9…ya ain’t get psychological help for your female hating yet.

    Look how the males have destroyed everything that was good about the island, look at the state of the judiciary, the parliament…the last 50 years of destruction. …the lack of leadership, the low level of intelligence ofvthe male leaders, can you offer anything better for Barbados, Germany, US…or any other country in the world that’s male dominated and being destroyed.


  20. David July 28, 2016 at 7:04 PM #

    We have our demons in our backyard.What Afra continues to show is his willingness to embrace his civic duty as a citizen.

    VIDEO: Interview on the Colman Report and its delayed publication on 107.7 FM

    by AfraRaymond

    Afra Raymond is interviewed by Rennie Bishop on 107.7FM on Sunday 17, July 2016 to discuss the delay of the publication of the Colman Report in the collapse of CL Financial.

    Read more of this post


  21. Amused July 29, 2016 at 3:40 AM #

    @Hal Austin. You are right to take issue with the word “non-binding” in reference to the Brexit vote. My view is that it is binding. Sovereignty resides in the British Parliament, save and except when Parliament hands that sovereignty back to the people in referendum. Once they do this, they are bound by the decision and sovereignty of the people. The next step is to determine the will of the people and if that test has been constitutionally met. In a country like Barbados with a rigid constitution, the referendum vote would require a two thirds majority. HOWEVER, in a country like the UK with a flexible constitution, a simple majority of one, far less over one million, suffices. For clarity, the “flexible” constitution comprises a series of acts and charters that are amendable or repealable by a simple parliamentary majority. In the case of the UK, these acts comprise Magna Carta, the Petition of Rights, the Act of Rights, the Act of Settlement and a series of Parliament and other Acts. In Barbados, to amend the Constitution requires a two thirds parliamentary majority. Do you get the picture? The UK Prime Minister not only now has the power to invoke Article 50 as and when she wishes without discussion in Parliament, but the UK Parliament has the legal obligation so to do. So the vote is far from advisory, but in fact sovereign.

    While I agree with the author that, properly handled, there can be great benefit to the Region from Brexit, she has merely scratched the surface, indeed not even really scratched, more like rubbed, although given the standard and competence of regional legislatures, they too will merely rub. However, I express my grave reservations that someone with the letters LLB after her name has used the word “non-binding” in describing the Brexit vote. Has she not noted that all the noise about constitutionality from disgruntled parliamentary “Remainers” has completely abated? Clearly they, unlike her, have had the advantage of consulting acknowledged UK constitutional law experts.


  22. David July 29, 2016 at 5:39 AM #


    And have you considered the impact the actions of the Scottish government will have in the the coming months? That country voted to remain in the Kingdom in a referendum also, the compellingly argument by Cameron was that it facilitated membership in the EU.

    Perhaps it is not a straightforward transaction after all.


  23. Amused July 29, 2016 at 11:28 AM #

    @David. Yes. Considered and rejected. First, the Scots will have to apply for membership and go through the application process. So you are looking at minimum 5 years. Second, any country can veto Scotland’s membership and certainly Spain will do this as it would negatively affect its own Catalan position. Third, the Scots are well aware that North Sea oil and gas has gone up the spout and they rely heavily on UK contracts for things like ship building on the Clyde, but those contracts will be given to English firms in Southampton. Fourth, with both France and Germany kicking off about immigration (for obvious reasons) and Marine Le Pen in France likely to be the next president, the chances are far more than good that we will be looking at a Frexit referendum and over 70% of people in France want out. Fifth, the Netherlands and Hungary both want out. Sixth, the Euro, if you look at today’s IMF stories, is likely to go into freefall. Finally, by the time Scotland gets round to joining the EU, chances are excellent there will be no EU to join. The Scots know all this and no amount of political sabre rattling by the two fish (Salmond and Sturgeon) will get the Scots to vote for independence now. They may not like exiting the EU, but given the “climate” they are unlikely to vote to leave the UK. They are not stupid, you know.


  24. David July 29, 2016 at 12:17 PM #


    Understood, however you are aware the threat of losing access to EU markets has not deterred the UK from Brexit Yes. Why should Scotland be otherwise deterred?



  25. Well Well & Consequences July 29, 2016 at 1:52 PM #


    Took them long enough.


  26. Amused July 29, 2016 at 2:37 PM #

    @David. England, Wales (population about 70 million) as opposed to Scotland (population just over 5 million) imports from the EU, especially from Germany far more than it exports to the EU. Therefore, there is considerable pressure on EU member governments to allow the free trade area to continue with the UK. In the meantime, the UK has already made great inroads into setting up trade agreements with China, India, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and many other countries with which the EU does not have trade agreements. Those new trade agreements will offset and more any loss that expulsion from the single market may cause. But that market will work both ways and Britain will retaliate as far as trade agreements with the EU are concerned. On the other hand, Scotland, as a member of the EU, would be forced to deal only with trade agreements from and through the EU and be denied the UK’s new trade agreements and, with the greatest respect to Scotland, a consumer base of only 5+ million is hardly going to provide much leverage within the EU. Ever heard the expression “canny Scott”? They are a very shrewd race and will have worked out exactly where their bread is best buttered, despite the politicians. In any case, Spain will veto Scottish membership for sure and that would be the end of it.

    There are a number of pointers that have occurred this week. First is the seven-year moratorium on immigration that has been suggested out of the EU in order to keep Britain in the single market. Then, there is the fact that just yesterday parents in Scotland took the Scottish government to court……and won……under EU rules.

    There is also the fact that Sturgeon has been single-handedly responsible for the general UK attitude that Hadrian’s Wall should simply be rebuilt – the rest of the UK is, I am reliably informed, so fed up with the Scottish government that they now don’t give a damn whether Scotland stays or goes, in fact the general attitude is that they should leave so no one has to listen to Sturgeon any longer. Remember that for Scots to get into what remains of Britain would require a passport and vice versa. After all, if free migration is allowed into Scotland, the remainder of the UK would be perfectly entitled to look to its security. After these hundreds or years of free entrance and exit, this will certainly give pause. Scotland would have to join the Euro, because the remainder of the UK would not allow them to join sterling. International concerns would certainly reflect that they would be serving a consumer number of only 5+ million and reflect whether or not it makes sense for them to maintain their operations there, or deal with the far larger (and much richer) market south of Hadrian’s Wall…..and so it goes on. Enough deterrence?


  27. BajanMice - TheGazer July 29, 2016 at 7:38 PM #

    Good manners dictate that I try to engage you here rather than on your home page.

    I like to read what you write, but I find that I disagree with you eleven out of ten times. I am eager to learn and hope that you can point out the fallacies in my statement.

    First a smart alec remark… A key ingredient of lemonade is sugar and the sugar industry in most of these islands is dead. No sugar, no lemonade.

    A cornerstone of your argument has always been about trade between the Caribbean and larger countries (1) Barbados imports much more than it exports (2) the UK is not on e of the top 5 importers of Barbados products 9) Education and travel is spending money, more akin to importing than exporting.
    I agree with “ We also need to use this opportunity to expand beyond the traditional exports to the UK by developing new and underdeveloped services exports such as in the cultural industries, consultancy services, medical tourism and the like.”, but your trade section seem more like wishful thinking than earning foreign exchange.

    English is also spoken in the US and they rush to Asia for labor and expertise and not to the Caribbean.

    This is what I extracted.
    “The consensus so far is that nearly 10 years after the signing of the EPA, most CARIFORUM countries have not realized the benefits expected. Simply put, market access does not guarantee market penetration. Sound market research will be needed to identify specific niches within the EU market which Caribbean goods and services providers could tap into. Business support organizations will continue to play an important role in assisting Caribbean exporters in their preparedness to enter the EU market.”

    Perhaps, it is time for Caribbean intellectuals to realize, that our markets and economies are small. We call ourselves states and nations; we talk like big boys and make deals like big boys, but to use a phrase that is popular in BU, most of the time we are punching above our weight and I don’t mean that in a positive way. Perhaps, if we realized our weight class and our limitation, we would abandon our pie in the sky ideas and be realistic.

    Time for us to admit that “cap in hand” is not a trade deal of equals.


  28. chad99999 July 30, 2016 at 2:49 PM #

    In order for Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean to develop new export industries, we need publicly funded export agencies to take selected private sector businessmen by the hand, as if they were clueless teenagers, and instruct them in each and every technical and administrative step involved in developing and managing new, profitable businesses. All the necessary market research will have to be done by the agencies themselves. Merely providing financial “incentives” and negotiated market access to European and North American countries is clearly not enough, because the region’s businessmen are among the worst in the world. They seem utterly lacking in initiative, energy and intelligence. They have had privileged access to the US market for decades and have done next to nothing with the opportunity. That is why it makes no sense for the region to rely on a handful of lawyers to address trade issues and the problem of persistent trade deficits. Lawyers know only a tiny fraction of the practical details involved in creating and operating efficient business enterprises that can compete in the global marketplace.


  29. BajanMice -The Gazer July 31, 2016 at 7:15 AM #

    Whilst I do not always agree with all of your your comments, I have found that there is often an undeniable truth at the center of the statement. You have a tendency to make your case using the most extreme of language.


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