Dire consequences could be looming ahead for Guyana if it does not take the necessary precautions to secure itself from possible repercussions of the decision taken by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union (EU), one of the largest politico-economic trading unions in the world, which has strong trading and diplomatic ties with the Caribbean.
This was expressed by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, during a news conference on Wednesday at the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Headquarters, Freedom House on Robb Street, Georgetown.
Jagdeo believes that Government has taken a laid-back approach in this worldwide phenomenon which has already begun to have tremendous political and economic impacts in other countries.
According to Jagdeo, the Cabinet should take immediate steps to have a special meeting on this development, and carefully consider all the angles through which Guyana can be affected by BREXIT and explore avenues to protect against any possible consequences that may follow.
“…then inform our public about what to expect and of course, having done that, it would also inform our economic policy making (body),” he said, positing that he cannot comprehend why this was not yet done.
While it is still too premature to pronounce definitely on the outcomes of BREXIT, Jagdeo speculated that Guyana could lose significant funding from the EU as a result.
“I am sure almost that we are going to lose money from the developing window of the EU,” he forecasted.
Jagdeo explained that the UK used to push for assistance from the EU for the Caribbean, but now with the UK deciding to leave, that support might be reduced.
He contended that the immediate ramifications in the UK are proof enough that conditions and circumstances will change for Guyana.
The Opposition Leader asserted too that the move by the UK to exit from the EU sets the precedence for others to follow, and if this occurs, then the entire EU project would unravel.
He explained that, should this occur, chances of funding to the Caribbean, and by extension Guyana, will be lost.
That aside, Jagdeo said there ought to be no implications on trading agreements.
“The trade, the jury is still out in that regard,” he said.
However, Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge and British High Commission, Gregory Quinn have both assured that there will not be any immediate consequences to Guyana in light of the BREXIT.
They had explained that it will take quite a while before Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is invoked, after which negotiations will commence on the process to leave the EU.
This process is expected to take up to two years.
Jagdeo acknowledged this factor, but indicated that based on current developments, the Guyana Government should at least take precautions.