Bermuda gets green light to seek full Caricom membership
HAMILTON, Bermuda (CMC) – The Bermuda government says it is moving ahead with plans to join the regional integration movement, Caricom, after being given the green light from the United Kingdom.
Deputy Premier, Walter Roban, in a statement to Parliament, said discussions had been held between Premier David Burt and the Governor of this British Overseas Territory, Rena Lalgie, on “Bermuda’s intention to make an application for full membership” in the 15-member Caricom grouping.
Roban said that Premier Burt also met with David Rutley, Britain’s Parliamentary under Secretary of State for the Americas and Caribbean, while on a trip to London earlier this month.
He said Rutley “expressed support for Bermuda making an application” and that “he encouraged Bermuda to begin the process, an offer which we will oblige.”
The Deputy Premier acknowledged that Britain will have to be consulted before Bermuda can submit an application to Caricom, which is this year, observing its 50th anniversary.
“We are now researching and exploring all that is required to make a full application. The official discussions have begun with the United Kingdom as to whether an entrustment is required or merely an amendment to the existing entrustment,” Roban said.
“Also, we are determining what will be needed for us to facilitate a full application, what steps are required and what may be the points of negotiation we would need to initiate with the Caricom Secretariat. We are reaching out to the secretariat to obtain all the required information for the application.”
“We are also consulting with other full members of Caricom about our future application to get feedback and guidance,” Roban said in his statement, adding that there would be “extensive” consultation with the public in order for “a fully informed and healthy discussion to be had with all interested parties.
“It is important that people be allowed to ask questions, participate in discussions, look at positives and negatives, and, importantly, to get the facts and answers they deserve. This is the environment that was created in 2003 before the application for Associate Membership was made. It will be done so again.”
“Once we receive further information such as the feedback required from the UK Government, Caricom Secretariat and other relevant organisations, the public will hear early in the new year about the public consultation process.”
Bermuda became an Associate Member in July 2003. It is one of five Associate Members of Caricom, the others being, Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.