BVI News

COMMENTARY: BVI politics and the fog of Brexit

By Dickson Igwe, Contributor

Brexit presents a dilemma for Virgin Islands politics during a month of general elections.

How does Brexit affect the Virgin Islands? Will Brexit happen? And if Brexit takes place will Brexit be sustainable in an aging Britain that is changing demographically?

OK. Be in no doubt. Brexit is a civil war in the UK. The reason why blood has not been spilt is the simple fact the UK remains a free democracy with solid legal and political institutions that can absorb the anger and bitterness that Brexit has generated. Britain is to leave the European Union on March 29, 2019. Whether this will indeed happen is unclear.

The divisions in British politics on Brexit are unbridgeable. The divisions on the UK high street are equally implacable. Most British citizens hold strong views on Britain leaving the UK. Enemies have been made, families separated, and even violent attacks on UK citizens leading to injury and death have taken place over Brexit, including the assassination of a Member of Parliament.

But look beneath the smoke and fog and a few facts can be ascertained.

Brexit an English affair

First, Brexit is mainly an English affair. Brexit is also driven by white working men and their toffee-nosed public schoolboy masters. British Liberals, Minorities, and UK citizens of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland overwhelmingly want to remain a part of the European Union.

Gibraltar, a UK Overseas Territory (OT) sitting of the Spanish shores of the Mediterranean is strongly pro-Europe and wants to remain in Europe big business is clearly against Brexit, as head offices of UK companies migrate elsewhere in droves. For the Virgin Islander to understand Brexit the use of analogy is appropriate.

The European Union is a loose confederation of states. Confederation is a powerful economy of over 500 million people. Britain is part of the confederation and enjoys privileges, and contributes financially to this confederation. Britain leaving can be compared to Virginia leaving the USA. Who wins and who loses? Virginia of course: the reason being, Virginia will no longer enjoy the economies of scale of being part of the USA economy and market. Citizens of Virginia will no longer be US citizens.

Citizens of Virginia will be under the tutelage of US immigration services. Citizens of Virginia will no longer have access to the US job market.

Businesses in Virginia will have to pay customs tariffs and other unseen economic costs as Virginia is no longer part of the USA. The present border between the UK and Ireland sits at the extreme end of Northern Ireland which is a country in the UK.

Increased borders

Presently there is no border between the UK and Ireland. With Brexit there will be a hard border. This can be compared with the border between the British Virgin Islands and the US Virgin Islands which is a hard border. A hard border between the UK and Ireland will be devastating for the people in the region.

Again the analogy with the US and British Virgin Islands is appropriate. The peoples of the US Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands share a similar culture, religion and ethnicity.

However, the hard border between the two island chains is a great barrier between the two peoples. The UK – Ireland border does not exist presently as the UK and Ireland are countries in a loose confederation called the European. After March 29, there will be a hard border and there will be security and customs checks, such as exists between the British Virgin Islands and the US Virgin Islands.

The term ‘back stop’ is an arrangement where after March 29 the border between Ireland and the UK will remain the same as at present: a non- existent border. However, for this to happen Britain will have to remain in the EU’s Customs Union which essentially means that the UK will remain in Europe, but without any ‘say’ in the matters of Europe.

UK Overseas Territoires to lose privileges 

The Overseas Territories are presently a part of the European Union. Holders of United Kingdom European passports can live and work anywhere in the European Union of 28 states. However, after March 29, the Overseas Territories will no longer possess that right and privilege. Citizens of OTs will only be able to live and work in the UK.

And in a UK with a severely damaged economy caused by Brexit will not be able to offer the same type of benefits and privileges being in a confederation of 28 states offers.

In other words, the status of citizens of OTs who hold UK-EU passports globally will be degraded severely. Matters such as European grants and access to Europe’s tourism markets are also ‘’up in the air. ‘’ The preceding is why Brexit matters in this British Virgin Islands February 25, General Election.

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  1. Garbage says:

    Most of what is written here is absolute drivel. Much of it is unsubstantiated conjecture and outright falsehoods.

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    • Observer1 says:

      Please explain; let me hear a balanced counterpoint. Go ahead! Keep burying your heads in the sand. “Where ignorance is bliss, it is folly to be wise.”

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      • Anonymous says:

        Some say that English is a complicated language. However, intellectual capabilities are as bountiful as the stars.

        Nonetheless, I am always taken aback when the two words “ignorance” and “bliss” are paired together. Before I continue, the following is not an affront to anyone, just my mind passing some idle time.

        Anyone, even the dumbest of the dumb can give a reasonable explanation of the meaning of “dumb” with examples.
        Bliss on the other hand, might present a challenge here or there with regards to being succinct in explanation.

        Bliss means, ecstasy. Therefore, why has western man choose to pair that word with “ignorance?” It s also associated with words such as Heaven, paradise, enjoyment, happiness, delight, pleasure, harmony and blessedness. Do those words conjure up thoughts of “ignorance?

        On the back end meanwhile, linguist has asserted that its (Anonym) is misery. However, this mind does not equate misery with “ignorance.”

        Misery, correct me if I am devoid of some information here, is a mental state of unhappiness, discomfort, pain and suffering, to mention just a few.

        Hence, There appear no working correlation between “ignorance” and “bliss.” So why do minds pair the two? To give the illusion of being intelligent or smart? or just being an unconscious slave to cliche?

        Thus, the created complexity of the English language and authentic word meanings. Just saying.

        • Observer1 says:

          “Ignorance is bliss”
          If you do not know about something, you do not worry about it.

          Thanks for proving the very point I was trying to communicate! Much appreciated.

    • Reality says:

      That’s a bit harsh . @garbage . If you so cleaver explain Brexit

  2. Bystander says:

    Dickson makes some interesting points here; and I do think there may be some disadvantages short term for the OTs.

    I don’t think there is enough consideration of the fact that the EU is quite likely to blow apart in the next few years because of internal contradictions and the Euro. If the UK got its act together and worked with the competent OTs it could present a powerful financial services joined up destination for the world.

    • @ByStander says:

      A keen thought, but failed upon before arrival.

      Why? The Brit?Eurocentricity racial complexity superiority complex will not allow it to function on equal terms, ground or partners with its OTS counter parts.

      It will want to be the dominant player, not recognising its diminishing world’s influence and changing world’s economics realties, despite its inheritance of centuries of centuries of world, slave and resources plunder.

      Thus, it lost possibilities.

  3. Diaspora says:

    On 23 June 2016, by a slim margin, 51.9% to 48.1%, over 30 million UK residents voted to exit the 28 member EU (an economic and political partnership). The turn out at the poll was 71.8%. It look as if the UK is having buyers remorse about leaving the EU (Brexit) on March 29, 2019. There are suggestions to a)cancel exit b)hold another referendum…….etc. The UK can leave the EU with or without an agreement. However, PM May is having a tough time getting MPs to approve an agreement. On January 15, 2019, her exit agreement suffered a crushing defeat 432 to 202 in Parliament.

    Why did UK voters voted to leave the EU, albeit by a slim majority? Freedom of movement among member countries was probably a prime factor. It is an open secret that immigation has always been a problem for the UK, ie, Winrush…..etc. The “Browning” of the UK is especially a problem. Did a slim majority of UK voters cut off its nose to spite its face? Former PM Cameron probably errored in setting the exit bar too low, a simple majority. Nonetheless, as the UK races towards the March 29 exit, how it will exit is still a toss up, an uncertainty.

    Clearly, the OTs are enjoying some benefits by UK being part of the EU. Nonethless, the OTs lost with UK exit from the EU is probably not a major concern for UK Parliament. The UK operates in the UK’s interest, eg, Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill for Caribbean OTs.

    • confusion says:

      Actually the majority of anti money-laundering and beneficial ownership registers legislation is being driven by the EU and the UK is being made to comply (despite opposition by many of the current government conservative party)
      So BREXIT might actually work in the BVI’s favor as the UK government would probably cut the BVI and other OT more slack on these issues.
      It’s not purely the UK dictating to their OT’s – the UK is being forced to comply with EU regulation and hence is requiring their OTs to fall into line also.

      I have no doubt that immigration was the leading concern behind the BREXIT vote… but it is only because uncontrolled immigration from the rest of the EU (particularly the poorer eastern european nations) has created this more hostile environment towards immigrants and this in turn led to the despicable Windrush scandal. I doubt this would have happened without the uncontrolled influx of eastern european migrants. The general UK white population is much more tolerant towards members of commonwealth countries such as those in the Caribbean where we share a common culture, religion and language. These immigrants have been in the UK for generations, have contributed to society and integrated whilst still adding their vibrant culture into the mix. Eastern europeans however, are viewed – rightly or wrongly – as only making the UK their temporary home out of economic convenience, to take advantage of jobs, higher wages, of the UK’s better public services (health and education) and benefits but as soon as they have saved enough money or their own economies have improved back home they will pack and leave. And this is what lead to the resentment driving BREXIT.

  4. Garbage says:

    I’m not here to explain BREXIT to anyone too lazy to do their own research.
    But this ‘commentary’ is purer gutter journalism.

    The first claim that the assignation of an MP as a consequence of BREXIT is totally misleading. Where is the substantiation?
    I’m assuming he’s talking about the murder of Jo Cox – an MP who was killed by am unemployed Scottish man with a long history of mental illness in the run-up to the referendum vote. Yes the murderer had a long history of white supremacy and Neo-Nazi views and supposedly cried out some things before the murder that relate to the Brexit issue but there was no direct tie to BREXIT. He was a depressed loner, with no friends or associates, he didn’t defend himself in court or explain his motive. Claiming that this lone act by a mentally impaired man was as because of BREXIT is utter nonsense.

    The second claim that BREXIT is an English affair and that Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Minorities all voted overwhelming to remain is also false. Wales also voted for BREXIT. Scotland was the only country to vote ‘overwhelmingly’ for REMAIN.
    There is no voting data or records on how minorities or the different races actually voted so to claim you know how they did is fake news. And many opinion polls actually showed minorities actually in favor of BREXIT so it is highly likely your claim is false.
    Yes Gibraltar voted overwhelmingly to REMAIN but to say they a strongly pro-Europe is also misleading. They voted overwhelmingly to reject shared sovereignty with Spain and the UK in an earlier referendum, preferring to remain totally British.

    Comparing the UKs relationship with the EU to that of the Commonwealth of Virginia with the US is completely and utterly misleading. The EU is not (yet) a federal republic. The differences between the EU and the US are massive.

    To state that with BREXIT there will be a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is also false.
    A hard border will only occur if there is a NO DEAL Brexit. And even this will not be similar to the US/BVI border. Even if there is NO DEAL BREXIT a ‘HARD BORDER’ will only involve checks on the movement of goods…. there will be absolutely no Passport/Security checks for people and their personal possessions. To state that a hard border will mean similar checks as at the BVI/USVI border is wrong and scaremongering.

    In addition the Republic of Ireland and the UK do not share a common religion. That was one of the main reason the Republic chose to become independent. The Republic of Ireland is a predominantly Catholic society whereas the UK predominantly identifies as Protestant.

    With all these blatant and misleading inaccuracies in this commentary I’m surprised the BVI News even allowed it to be published. The commentator is clearly totally unqualified to comment on the subject. Shocking journalism.

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  5. @ garbage says:

    I respectfully oppose all that you have asserted- yours is the fake news assertion- not Igwe’s and we all await the break up of the UK with intense interest over Brexit- I guess Igwe being a Caribbean man is unqualified to comment on Brexit- your hostility confirms Igwes’s assertion that Brexit is war- and it is sad the OTs have not had a say in a purely English affair – we will see who is right and who is wrong on this Brexit matter-

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  6. garbage says:

    All I’ve done is pointed out the many misleading inaccuracies in the commentary.
    And substantiated them with FACTS.
    None of what I said is fake news. It’s all the truth. I have no dog in this fight. My hostility is to shoddy journalism and scaremongering. I’m just correcting shockingly poor journalism. I stated the commentator is obviously unqualified on the issue based on the numerous errors in his piece. I did not mention his nationality or background – you just introduced this.
    Tell me what I have stated that is fake news?

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  7. Yea right says:

    Yea right: One man’s fake news is another’s truth? Igwe is 100% correct Brexit is Little England wanting to rule the rest of the UK

  8. Ha says:

    @yea right
    Too bad the facts and the voting records don’t back up your claims. Give us substantiated facts then we can determine for ourselves!
    You also chose not to mention that Nothern Ireland, Scotland and Wales all have their own devolved governments (much like the BVI). The only country not to have their own home government is England. The U.K. parliament decides all England’s laws and is over-represented (by head of population) by MPs from Scotland, Northen Ireland and Wales. So England is actually essentially beholdened to all the other countries in the Union. It’s no wonder they want the system to change. Democracy is a wonderful tool and the will of the people will be heard. Most in England want nothing to do with the Scots and Irish and would happily see them go their separate ways. Check your facts before you speak your foolishness.

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  9. Hehehe says:

    ” Most in England want nothing to do with the Scots and Irish and would happily see them go their separate ways” ain’t that the truth Little Englander

  10. Ha says:

    That’s all you’ve got?

    Opinion polls support this view. The English won’t stand in the way of Scottish Independence if that’s what the Scots want. But of course the Scots want to keep the ‘best of both world’s’ status quo and continue to meddle in England’s affairs through their skewed, over-proportioned MP count in Westminster and having their economy subsidized by English taxpayers… hence why their patience is growing thin with this ungrateful thorn in the side of English since the the Union was formed. And let’s not forget that it was Scotland’s bankruptcy that forced them to ask for such a Union in the first place. The Scottish parliament voted freely to join a union with England in 1707. Contrary to the fake news banded around by Scottish Independence supporters England did not colonize or invade Scotland… they like to forget this fact as it is embarrassing to their cause. The English bailed Scotland out of financial ruin and we have been subsidizing them ever since.

    And what about actual voting data and records? Records that show BREXIT is not solely a white English exercise. The Welsh voted for BREXIT. Much of Northern Ireland voted for BREXIT. And most opinion polls show that minorities even supported BREXIT, although there is no hard voting data to show how they actually voted… Hence, you can’t claim the majority of minorities voted REMAIN.

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  11. A Sensible Briton says:

    Robert Bruce Lindsay Thank you for your clarity on this well said and here we are “little England ???????????????????????????? “ stamping its feet ???? thinking the UE is compelled to listen. When in fact the EU has listened, contemplatived the facts and said your choice in out out here are your walking papers if you leave. Only a fool would leave. But little England stuck up on its hubris is in denial… so the stages of sadness and depression are: 1st denial, 2nd effort at bargaining, 3rd recognition of the facts, 4th true depression, 5th acceptance, 6th recognition of release from the tragedy. However this tragically will not get to a place we’re the party any party can acknowledge the huge mistake BREXIT represented in the first place. As an American I wondered on the ballot did any know which vote they cast? It was so obscure which box one picked as to what it meant. The entire event is a travesty to GB ???????? citizens who I predict will now opt out of GB and go Scotland ???????????????????????????? to EU, Northern Ireland god only knows, and little England stamping passports, slowing imports and exports and finding citizens fleeing for their sanity to the EU or America. It is a tragedy of bad leadership only speaking to themselves and not reckoning the public gets it. The parliament is wrong there. The subjects they serve will “run run run like as son of a gun” calipso beat! ????

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    • England says:

      When Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland leave the UK, it will become England in name and the OTs will become OTs of England and not Ots of the UK? Amazing really!

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