BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thursday June 30, 2016 – British High Commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Victoria Dean is seeking to assure the region that the United Kingdom (UK) remains committed to the Caribbean despite its exit from the European Union (EU) and “nothing will change overnight”.
She gave the assurance amid concerns voiced by several in the region about the impact that Brexit, as the move is referred to, will have on Caribbean countries that have depended on Britain’s aid, trade and tourists.
“I should be clear that nothing will change overnight. British tourists will keep coming to the region, keep contributing to the local economy and keep enjoying these beautiful islands,” the High Commissioner said in a statement.
She also sought to assure that “the re-energized partnership between the UK and the Caribbean”, launched by Prime Minister David Cameron on his visits to the region last year, would continue.
Referring to Cameron’s declaration during the trip that the UK wants to “to help the Caribbean on their path of development – supporting economic growth and creating new opportunities for people living here”, Dean added: “That has not changed. The UK remains the largest bilateral donor to the region.”
“Our cooperation with the Caribbean is an important part of who we are and what we do. Our close co-operation and partnership is underscored by our deep links, bonded by our shared values and through our close linguistic, historical, cultural and political ties. These are essential to our relationship and will not change.”
The High Commissioner stressed that the British people had made a clear and robust decision in the historic referendum held last Thursday – in which 52 per cent voted in favour of leaving the EU – and the will of the people must be respected.
She said British Chancellor to the Exchequer, George Osborne, has reassured the British people and the global community that Britain is ready to confront what the future holds.
With concerns that Britain will lose some of its global influence on the global stage, the diplomat added: “The UK remains a great country, and will always be capable of thriving and prospering on the world stage. Our voice will always be powerful. We are a top-table member of the UN Security Council, of NATO, of the G7, the G20 and the Commonwealth.”