Bermuda ‘stronger than some’ on Brexit

By added on 22/07/2016

Bermuda’s non-reliance on British government aid places it in a sturdier position post-Brexit than some Overseas Territories, Michael Dunkley has said, reports the Royal Gazette.

The Premier spoke to The Royal Gazette from the Turks & Caicos Islands, where he is attending the Pre-Joint Ministerial Council alongside other OT leaders.

Brexit arrangements were a key topic of discussion at the annual forum, which serves as a precursor to October’s OT Joint Ministerial Council meetings, hosted by the British Government.

“While there are some uncertainties and some unknowns with Brexit, we believe we’re in a reasonable position compared to other OTs, some of whom receive a significant amount of aid,” Mr Dunkley said.

The Premier, who arrived on Tuesday night and will return tomorrow, revealed that the participating leaders had agreed to engage with the British Government individually on the issue.

“Because we all have somewhat different circumstances, we’ll engage the UK bilaterally to ensure we can each put our own concerns across,” he said.

However, he said that the Overseas Territories leaders enjoyed a mutually beneficial unity with one another in other areas.

“The OTs have been very successful over the past few years in working together, to the point where we can leverage our strength with the UK,” he said.

“Because of the relationships that we have built, the UK now looks at us as a very strong partner whose concerns on this issue need to be taken on board.”

Other topics at this week’s sessions will include child safeguarding, financial-services tax and transparency.

Yesterday, the Premier led a discussion on sustainable economic development, economic diversification and tourism — explaining the Bermuda Government’s attempt to redevelop L.F. Wade International Airport, a project that has met with controversy.

After the Pre-Joint Ministerial Council, Mr Dunkley will visit the UK in September to meet newly appointed ministers.

While there, he will aim to ensure that the British Cabinet fully understands Bermuda’s interests and appreciates the island’s economic contribution to the UK economy.

“All Overseas Territories realise that there’s a tremendous amount of work to be done, but we’re committed to doing it,” Mr Dunkley said.