I am very concerned with the recent comments that were made by the premier wherein he spoke of what he and his government intends to do now that the U.K. has voted to exit the EU. My concerns fall into two categories:
The first is that the exit is not entirely a surprise. They have known about this potential referendum since early 2013 based on the promises made by Prime Minister David Cameron that he would call for a referendum on the issue if his government won reelection in 2015; furthermore, the predictions also suggested that the pro-exit voters were in the majority. This knowledge begs the unanswered question of, “Why did the premier and his Cabinet not put together some form of advisory group over the past two years, ahead of the June 23 vote, to ensure that these Islands would have an idea of some of the possible implications of the exit?”
Additionally, one would have expected that certain preemptive measures would already have been taken to ensure that the country would be more prepared to hit the ground running on June 24.
The other category of concern is in relation to his expressed next steps which he intends to take. Again his words have revealed that he is still in the meeting and information-gathering stage, and he has still failed to mention anything about putting an advisory group together. His comments on what he will do now also suggest that the very basic steps of having a discussion with the U.K. representative(s) on the matter, at this late hour, has not yet been done.
These are but two categories which I believe demonstrate unfortunately a very poor show of leadership on this particular issue.
As a reminder, his government made similar errors between 2005 and 2009 in the face of a pending global economic crisis. They allowed themselves and the country to be caught off-guard. To their credit they did form an Economic Advisory Committee at the time; to their discredit, they and the committee never met, and the country paid dearly for their failures.
I am therefore calling on the government, as a matter of urgency, to create an advisory group that will very quickly, and on an ongoing basis, assess the situation and make known the potential implications of this exit, both the threats and the opportunities and to formulate plans to mitigate those threats, as well as action plans to take advantage of any opportunities.
The government must take this issue of the U.K.’s exit from the EU as a very serious matter, as one that will have legal, political and economic ramifications of tremendous proportions, and they must understand that if they fail to take the necessary actions immediately, that their inaction will undoubtedly result in undue hardship for the people of these Islands.
Therefore, I implore the government to form a committee with some of our brightest minds and to act swiftly in doing so. After all, we are already two years too late.