‘I Do Not Expect Brexit To Have Negative Impact’

February 5, 2020 | 7 Comments

“I do not expect Brexit to have a negative impact on this island, certainly in the near future and hopefully beyond,” Governor John Rankin said, citing the fact that Bermuda has no dependence on EU funding, exports very few physical goods to the EU, and has Solvency II Equivalence.

The Governor said this as he delivered a speech at the Hamilton Rotary Club this week on Brexit and its impact on Bermuda, with the Governor noting that his “job as Governor, working with the elected Government here, is to help ensure that Bermuda’s interests will continue to be heard as necessary in the post-Brexit period.”

Rotary

Governor John Rankin said, “Thank you for inviting me to address the Hamilton Rotary Club today. It is a privilege to do so.

“First, because I am aware of the good work that so many Rotarians do on this island, and internationally. Work that the Hamilton Rotary Club has been doing since its foundation in 1924 and to which I am sure that you, its members, remain committed to 95 years later. I particularly welcome the work that you do for young people.

“I am constantly inspired by the young Bermudians whom I meet who are determined to make a positive difference on this island, be it on social issues, tackling the challenges presented by climate change or helping to build a more inclusive society. They represent the future of Bermuda and the work you do in encouraging their efforts is important and has my full support.

“Secondly, I am pleased to be here today because you have asked me to speak on a topic which is both topical and important, namely Brexit and the impact on Bermuda.

Brexit

“Brexit has been a long time coming. The debate has raged in the British Parliament over the past three and a half years and perhaps, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson observed in his speech yesterday, for 47 years, since the UK joined what was then the European Economic Community in 1973. Last Friday, on 31 January, the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated by the Prime Minister came into effect and the United Kingdom is no longer a member of the European Union.

“That has been a cause of celebration for some and regret for others. But the Withdrawal Agreement respects the results of the UK Referendum on Brexit, reflects the result of last December’s General Election in the UK, brings to an end a period of uncertainty and sets the United Kingdom on a new course.

“It is important to note however that while the UK is leaving the European Union, it is not leaving Europe. Europe is an essential fact of the UK’s geography and history and the British Government will wish to continue to have a close and effective cooperative friendship with its European Allies, including of course France and Germany, in its international relations and in maintaining international security.

“But at the same time the UK is now free to further develop and strengthen its international outreach across the world both through bilateral engagement and through the international organisations of which we remain a leading member, including the United Nations, NATO and the Commonwealth.

“The Withdrawal Agreement provides an implementation period for transition until the end of this year before Brexit related changes take place. During that period the UK will negotiate its future trading relationship with the EU while also pursuing trade agreements with other countries including the US, Japan, Australia, Canada and New Zealand and other parts of the world, notably Africa, where free trade can play a huge role in promoting development and economic growth.

“The aim is to build a newly invigorated Global Britain committed to free trade and playing a leading role in tackling the challenges that face the international community, not least in addressing what Prime Minister Johnson has described as the great environmental issue of our time, climate change, and which is also a vital issue for our small island of Bermuda.

“Indeed in the context of a Global Britain, the UK commitment to the safety and prosperity of its Overseas Territories, including Bermuda, will remain as strong as ever.

“I do not expect Brexit to have a negative impact on this island”

“The key point I wish to make today is that I do not expect Brexit to have a negative impact on this island, certainly in the near future and hopefully beyond. There are four key reasons for my taking that view.

“First, Bermuda does not depend on EU funding – we are not a recipient of EU State Aid and therefore there is no change, no loss of funding, as a result of Brexit.

“Secondly, as far as trade with the EU is concerned, Bermuda exports very few physical goods to the EU. Those businesses in the Overseas Territories that do export goods to the EU 27 Member States will continue to be able to export tariff-free and quota-free for the duration of the implementation period. Access to the EU markets after 2020 will be a matter for the upcoming negotiations on the UK’s future partnership with the EU and the UK is committed to achieving the best possible access for Overseas Territories’ goods.

“But in any event quota-free access to the UK for any goods from Bermuda will continue indefinitely. And in the other direction Bermudians will continue to be able to enjoy exports from the UK, including food from Waitrose and Tesco, clothes from Marks & Spencer, excellent British beers and the joys of watching Premier League football, in which competition I hope that Nahki Wells will be back playing soon with Bristol City.

“Thirdly, and most importantly, Solvency II Equivalence for Bermuda’s reinsurance industry, i.e. regulatory equivalence with the EU, allowing Bermuda’s reinsurance companies to write policies for Europe, exists independently of UK membership of the EU and will continue.

“In that respect Bermuda will retain its own important relationship with European insurance companies, which benefits both people in the EU, and the people of Bermuda, alike. Bermuda based reinsurers write some 20% of European property catastrophe reinsurance and in the past 20 years have paid over $72 billion to EU policyholders. So there is every reason for believing that Solvency II Equivalence, backed by excellent regulation under the Bermuda Monetary Authority, will continue for the future.

Passports

“The final key reason for my saying that Brexit will not have a negative impact for Bermuda relates to passports – a subject on which Government House receives perhaps more queries than on any other.

“At the moment, BOTC passport holders enjoy visa free access to the Schengen area of 26 EU Member States. That 90 day visa free access will not change. It will remain both during the implementation period and thereafter. So there is no effect on the ability of British Overseas Territory Citizens to travel to Europe as they now do.

“British passport holders in Bermuda, i.e. holders of the regular British passport, will have the same rights as British passport holders in the UK. The rules for them travelling to the EU will remain the same throughout the implementation period and they will be able to continue to live, work and study in the EU as they do now.

“I believe that Bermuda has little to fear from Brexit”

“So for all these reasons – no dependence on EU funding, few physical exports to the EU and continued tariff-free access to the UK, no change for BOTC passport holders and the maintenance of Solvency II Equivalence – I believe that Bermuda has little to fear from Brexit.

“There may nonetheless be challenges ahead and my job as Governor, working with the elected Government here, is to help ensure that Bermuda’s interests will continue to be heard as necessary in the post-Brexit period. We will have a ready audience in that respect, not least as Lord Ahmad, the UK Minister with responsibility for Bermuda and the Caribbean Overseas Territories, has himself made clear his commitment to ensuring that Overseas Territories’ priorities will inform the UK’s approach to the UK’s future negotiations.

“And while there may be challenges ahead, there are also opportunities of which I believe Bermuda is well placed to take advantage as this island continues to meet and beat the highest international regulatory standards. The recent Caribbean Financial Action Task Force [CFATF] assessment of Bermuda, placing us top of the class in the region and beating most other countries globally in our measures to combat money laundering and terrorist finance, is testament to what has been and can be achieved by Bermuda.

“As Governor I also pledge to continue to fulfil my constitutional responsibilities during my remaining time in office. Supporting the Bermuda Police Service and the Royal Bermuda Regiment in their vital role in ensuring the security of this island: reducing crime, keeping us safe, and responding to the risk of hurricanes and other physical threats.

“Ensuring that Bermuda complies with international obligations, including in the field of human rights, civil aviation and maritime safety. And supporting the independent institutions for which I am responsible under the Constitution, including the Courts, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Ombudsman and the Auditor General, and also supporting the work and independence of the Information Commissioner and the newly appointed Privacy Commissioner.

“These are strong institutions operating within our democratic society where freedom of speech and the rule of law prevail. We have much for which to be thankful and I continue to have great confidence in this island and its people, including those of you who are gathered here today as members of the Hamilton Rotary Club. I know that you are committed, as am I, to each playing your part in helping to maintain a successful Bermuda in the post-Brexit world and I believe that together we can succeed in that goal.”

click here Bermuda Brexit

Read More About

Category: All, News, Politics

Comments (7)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Vortex says:

    Very good speech, clear and positive.

    It also makes a mockery of the pro-Independence crowd who cited Brexit as a reason to leave the UK.

    What is also clear is the UK passport is gold for any Bermudian who travels.

    • Don Quiride says:

      Just to be clear: As things stand, that British passport will not entitle the holder to live, travel and work freely within the EU after 31st December 2020 as it currently does.

      The UK is in the ‘withdrawal period’ meaning the clock is ticking until the actual exit which is end of this year.

      Nothing changes until then, but after that, everything potentially changes.

      • Adklee says:

        ““At the moment, BOTC passport holders enjoy visa free access to the Schengen area of 26 EU Member States. That 90 day visa free access will not change. It will remain both during the implementation period and thereafter. So there is no effect on the ability of British Overseas Territory Citizens to travel to Europe as they now do.

        “British passport holders in Bermuda, i.e. holders of the regular British passport, will have the same rights as British passport holders in the UK. The rules for them travelling to the EU will remain the same throughout the implementation period and they will be able to continue to live, work and study in the EU as they do now.”

        Granted there is some slight ambiguity. The first paragraph indicates no impact on travel during implementation and thereafter. While the second paragraph says we can live, work, and study in Europe throughout implementation; it does not mention thereafter. Intentional exclusion or erroneous oversight?

  2. ” I do not expect……” .Is that enough proof?
    Is more information needed??
    Independence…move forward away from colonialism!!!!
    Time for Bermuda to move away from Colonialism.

    • Vortex says:

      And hello to queuing at the US Consolate for a visa EVERY time you go to the US.

      We are just another tiny nation then.

    • wahoo says:

      Time for you to stop drinking Kool-aide thanks to plp we are very much dependent on some form of governance and security. We are in debt $3XBBBBillion. Our great grand children will not overcome that so stop with with your “I am a victim of colonialism” crap. You will never be liberated from the debt your plp put you in. I bet you don’t own a property off shore….say Martha’s vineyard?

  3. Joe Bloggs says:

    “Europe is an essential fact of the UK’s geography and history and the British Government will wish to continue to have a close and effective cooperative friendship with its European Allies”

    Yeah, I’m not sure the Prime Minister or Dominic Cummings agree with that

Leave a Reply