Since March of this year, many meetings that Bermudians regularly were represented at, in person, are now being held online through various apps such as; Webex, Team meetings and Zoom.
Today we will discuss one such meeting.
On Friday, November 6, 2020, Cambridge University held a virtual roundtable discussion, via Zoom, titled: British Overseas Territories (OTs) and their relationship with the UK.
OTs were represented by panelists from:
* [British] Virgin Islands
* Falkland Islands
Additionally, there were various persons representing institutions such as; Cambridge University, University of Newcastle, the University of Southampton and various arms of the UK Civil Service.
Topics discussed included:
* Brexit, Global Britain and the future of relations between the UK and Overseas Territories
* Financial Services in the OTs,
* Economic Diversification in the OTs
* UK assistance with Hurricane relief
* UK assistance with Covid-19
The common theme discussed was that the United Kingdom has not treated all OTs equally or in good faith.
As prime examples:
* OTs of Anguilla and the Virgin Islands left to fend for themselves with post-Hurricane Irma and Maria in regards to short and long term economic recovery
* Unequal access in the UK to health care for OT residents
* The Falkland Islands are now facing challenges with exports for their fishing industry as the UK has now left the European Union.
It was a quite useful roundtable that allowed others in far-flung places to understand that they are not alone.
During the lead up to our October 1, 2020, General Election, there were a host of claims by the Opposition, the One Bermuda Alliance (OBA), that elections should not be held during a pandemic.
Their claim was that people will be exposing themselves to COVID-19.
Yet, they failed to admit that there were more people at a grocery store or bank, at any given time, than one would find at a polling station.
Over the last week, there have been a number of political elections safely held in the Caribbean region.
November 5- General Elections held in St Vincent and Grenadines - Prime Minister Ralph E. Gonsalves wins 9 out of 15 seats and fifth consecutive term for his centre-left Unity Labour Party (ULP), over the centre-right New Democratic Party (NDP), led by Goodwin E. L. Friday.
November 7- Leadership contest for Jamaican Opposition party, MP Mark J. Golding becomes President/Leader of the centre-left People's National Party (PNP).
November 11- A by-election was held in the constituency of St George North in Barbados following the resignation of incumbent MP Gline Clarke. The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) was represented by Ms Toni Moore and the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) was represented by Mr Floyd Reifer.
A total of 4,748 persons went to the polls and 3,154 voted for Moore, thus increasing the total number of women MPs in the Barbados Parliament to 7 out of 30.
November 11- General Election held in Belize where the then Opposition party the, centre-left People’s United (PUP), led by John Antonio Briceno, secured a decisive victory by winning 25 seats over the centre-right United Democratic Party (UDP) who only won 6 seats.
The UDP had been in government since 2008. There were an estimated 182,000 persons eligible to vote.
In closing, there are constant critics who state, ever so angrily, “we are not in the Caribbean”.
They are, in one instance, totally correct.
However, the reality is this, from a global perspective; Bermuda has always been considered a part of the Atlantic and Caribbean region when it comes to issues of geopolitical nature.
This is not something that was made up over the last few years. This has been a long-standing view by the civil service power brokers in Whitehall, London who ultimately have the final say of what goes on within the British Empire and its colonies.
As such, this Progressive Labour Party (PLP) government will continue to ensure that Bermuda is fully represented throughout the world stage, including our very own neighbours in the Atlantic and Caribbean region.
So to the critics, I leave you with this quote:
“I would with such perfection govern, sir,T'excel the golden age.”