In less than a month, Barbados’ Constitutional Commission will convene to set its path for new ties with the U.K. But not everyone believes the commission, which was set up to propose whether the British and Caribbean island has a future as a member of the Commonwealth or an independent country, will favor independence.
“We do need a viable arrangement for ourselves.” @DorisDurlung on Barbados’ recognition of trans-regionalism. pic.twitter.com/Gm5BPAesYP — BBC Caribbean (@BBCCaribbean) February 7, 2018
The important thing is, let’s make a proper attempt at a committee, and do all we can to ensure it’s a good committee
Commentators say the commission will likely make the choice to remain British, largely owing to the backing of Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who was hand-picked for the post by former Prime Minister Harold Rampertab, according to the Daily Mail.
“We do need a viable arrangement for ourselves,” said Robert Locks, who served as education minister during his time in office. Locks, who heads the commission, said the final decision on whether Barbados stays with the UK will be to be made in a few months. The question of where Barbados sits within the Commonwealth has been a subject of debate for years. And while the British House of Commons and the House of Lords—the two parliamentary houses that make up the U.K.—will not have a say in the decision, the government of the Caribbean island will—and while the report is considered confidential, sources say the government of India, Brazil and South Africa are likely to “support British reunification,” the Daily Mail reported.
The results of the vote will only be disclosed if the Barbados parliament approves. Other Caribbean countries have felt the love between Britain and the Caribbean for years. The U.K. has become synonymous with the Caribbean’s post-colonial states such as Barbados, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, and The Bahamas. And given the proximity of the islands and their close relationship with Great Britain, this arrangement has been a good deal for at least a few decades.
But all is not exactly rosy in post-colonial Britain and some island states are looking for new ways to boost their economies. Barbados in particular is seeking new allies and new development partnership strategies, sources said. Mottley has already begun talks with European governments, according to the Daily Mail. And she has reportedly sent a team of negotiators—along with a team from Trinidad and Tobago and the United States—to negotiate a broader trade deal with the EU.
Mottley is already beginning to build stronger ties, as evidenced by her inauguration speech at the British High Commission on Feb. 9. She called on Barbadians to work together to advance their interests by working with other island states. “I say to them, ‘Throw our heads together and we can save our islands,’” she said, according to the Barbados Guardian.
On her part, Mottley also called for a tougher approach to corruption, as state institutions like the Barbados Revenue Authority have taken steps to clamp down on tax evasion and corruption.
Read the full story at the Daily Mail.
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