Post-Brexit Working Group To Be Formed

July 26, 2019 | 16 Comments

As part of Bermuda’s ongoing preparation, a Post-Brexit Working Group will be formed to “consider and address” any issues required to prepare Bermuda, Premier David Burt said in the House of Assembly today [July 26].

“Now that the leadership process in the UK has been completed and the new Prime Minister had signaled a clear intention for the UK to leave the European Union as at 31st October, Bermuda, like many other Overseas Territories must renew their preparation for these events. This is especially important where there is the growing likelihood of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

“As part of Bermuda’s ongoing preparation for this scenario, I have determined strike a Post-Brexit Working Group to consider and address those issues required to prepare Bermuda for the likely post-Brexit scenarios which may obtain in the United Kingdom.

The Premier said that MP Walton Brown to chair this Working Group, which is proposed to consist of the following representative members: Trade Union Congress Representative, Opposition Representative, PLP Representative, Business community Representative, Youth Representative, NGO/3rd Sector Representative and Civil servant [ex offico / secretary].

“As part of its remit the Working Group will examine possible responses of Bermuda to any changes in UK relations with OTs including any necessary constitutional change as well as any necessary changes to the existing regime of self-governance presently enjoyed by Bermuda,” the Premier added.

The Premier’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker, now that the leadership process in the UK has been completed and the new Prime Minister had signaled a clear intention for the UK to leave the European Union as at 31st October, Bermuda, like many other Overseas Territories must renew their preparation for these events. This is especially important where there is the growing likelihood of a “no deal” Brexit.

Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I can advise this Honourable House that as part of Bermuda’s ongoing preparation for this scenario, I have determined strike a Post-Brexit Working Group to consider and address those issues required to prepare Bermuda for the likely post-Brexit scenarios which may obtain in the United Kingdom.

For the information of Honourable Members and the public, considered views on the impact of a “No Deal Brexit” can be summarized as follows:

Trade

The UK would revert to World Trade Organisation rules on trade. While Britain would no longer be bound by EU rules, it would have to face the EU’s external tariffs. The price of imported goods in shops for Britons could go up as a result. Some British-made products may be rejected by the EU as new authorisation and certification might be required. Manufacturers could move their operations to the EU to avoid delays in components coming across the border.

People

The UK would be free to set its own controls on immigration by EU nationals and the bloc could do the same for Britons. There could be long delays at borders if passport and customs checks are heightened.

Laws

Relevant EU laws would be transferred over so there would be no black holes in Britain’s law book. Britain would no longer have to adhere to the rulings of the European Court of Justice but it would be bound to the European Court of Human Rights, a non-EU body.

Money

The UK Government would not have to pay the annual £13 billion contribution to the EU budget. However Britain would lose out on some EU subsidies – the Common Agricultural Policy gives £3 billion to farmers. It is likely that both the EU and the UK will have to honour financial commitments under the 2019 budget.

The Irish border

The issue of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic would remain unresolved. While physical infrastructure has been vetoed, the border would become an external frontier for the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit. There would be pressure to enforce customs and immigration controls. However the UK Government has said it would aim to avoid a hard border and, for a temporary period, there would be no new tariffs on goods crossing the border from Ireland into Northern Ireland.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to advise this Honourable House that HM Treasury has confirmed that Bermuda’s EU Solvency II equivalence will be automatically maintained between Bermuda and the UK after the UK’s departure from the EU; in either a “Deal” or “No Deal” scenario as part of existing EU legislation that is being moved over into domestic UK law upon Brexit.

Mr. Speaker, in anticipation of the eventual Brexit scenario, a draft Bill has been prepared by counsel in Chambers and that Bill will address any resultant lacunae in Bermuda law. Honourable Members can expect to be invited to consider the Bill when we return in September.

Mr. Speaker, the full impact of Brexit on Overseas Territories generally and Bermuda in particular is difficult to measure, particularly against the background of the competing and unsettled political interests in the UK. Considerations must include the prospect of a snap general election, the potential for a change in the UK Government and therefore its policy towards the OTs. It is therefore proposed to strike a Post-Brexit Working Group to examine these scenarios and prepare Bermuda for eventualities arising out of the post-Brexit UK.

Mr. Speaker, I have invited the Honourable Member for Constituency 17, the Hon. C Walton Brown to chair this Working Group. Honourable Members will recall the key role played by the Honourable Member in securing visa free travel for Bermudians in the Schengen countries and of his keen insight into issue related to the EU. Additionally, Mr. Speaker, the Group is proposed to consist of the following representative members:

  • Trade Union Congress Representative
  • Opposition Representative
  • Progressive Labour Party Representative
  • Business community Representative
  • Youth Representative
  • NGO/3rd Sector Representative
  • Civil servant [ex offico / secretary]

Mr. Speaker, as part of its remit the Working Group will examine possible responses of Bermuda to any changes in UK relations with OTs including any necessary constitutional change as well as any necessary changes to the existing regime of self-governance presently enjoyed by Bermuda.

Mr. Speaker, this is new territory, not just for Bermuda but for the world. A European Union without the UK is something that had been often discussed but is now on the cusp of becoming reality. This Government recognizes the uncertainty this can bring for Bermudians who live in and travel to the UK and Europe and for those businesses who operate here and in those jurisdictions. We have been preparing for some time and our London Office team is actively engaged in the work required to ensure we have the best intelligence to support our policy making. Come what may, Bermuda is well placed to manage the change that Brexit will bring.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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Comments (16)

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  1. JohnnyB says:

    And you want to go Independent HAHAHAHA What a joke.

  2. Dready says:

    Another way of govt wasting taxpayers money. Probably gonna give Friends and family a nice “hustle” for doing nothing.
    25-11
    Working for F & F!

    • Well that will be a lil compensation for our Ancestors working 400 years for FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Toodle-oo says:

        I can’t even say you’re getting boring as you were boring a long time ago. lmao

      • andrew says:

        A Little is better than nothing inna . lol

      • Johnnyb says:

        The friends and family deals stop at the friends and family, they don’t care about the rest of you as long as they get their own. The Jewish community thrives as they take care of their own.

      • Joe Bloggs says:

        That’s right OJ, slavery in Bermuda only ended in 2012. Why did it take the PLP government 14 years to get around to abolishing it?

  3. La Verdad says:

    Obviously, you oba trolls did not listen to the Q&A when the Premier noted that the members would not be paid. How much you getting paid now for trolling? No doubt it is minimum wage.

    • Dready says:

      They will get paid!
      Free lunches and dinners, plane trips to the motherland, spending money on govt credit card. Just a few things perhaps that will be coming to those involved.
      25-11
      Friends and Family being taken care of by the workers!

  4. cha says:

    Cut n paste cut n paste.
    What happened to Renee? She’s over there on the ground.
    What we care about the most is keeping our ability to travel in EU easily.

  5. wondering says:

    Walton Brown!!!!!!!

    A waste of space and money…..the award for the most ineffective politician goes to……..

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      Walton hates the fact that we are a British Overseas Territory. His default position will be independence from Britain.

  6. Joe Bloggs says:

    “As part of Bermuda’s ongoing preparation for this scenario, I have determined strike a Post-Brexit Working Group to consider and address those issues required to prepare Bermuda for the likely post-Brexit scenarios which may obtain in the United Kingdom.”

    Dear Mr. Premier, we have known for over 3 years that Brexit Day is coming. Had it not been for an unanticipated extension some months ago it would already have happened. Why now, with only 3 months to go on the extension is this “Post-Brexit Working Group” being formed and what leads you to think that there may be some “changes in UK relations with OTs including … constitutional change”?

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