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Keep calm

British diplomat reassures region in wake of Brexit vote

Britain’s top diplomat here is urging Barbados and the Caribbean not to panic in the wake of the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union, assuring the region that “nothing will change overnight”.

British High Commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Victoria Dean issued a statement today seeking to reassure those who are worried that the Brexit vote will have damaging impact on the vital tourism industry, as well as trade.

British High Commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Victoria Dean

British High Commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Victoria Dean

“I should be clear that nothing will change overnight. British tourists will keep coming to the region, keep contributing to the local economy and keep enjoying these beautiful islands,” Dean emphasized.

Just yesterday, Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy sought to allay concerns that Britain’s pending exit from the EU might lead to fallout in terms of tourist arrivals from that territory.

Speaking to reporters after a short tour of the Sam Lord’s Castle site in St Philip where demolition officially began to make wayfor a new Wyndham Grand Hotel, Sealy suggested that the vote would not affect the island’s tourism.

In reference to the fact that the UK was Barbados’ biggest source market, he said, “That is the case now, it was the case last week, and it will be the case next week, whether they are part of the EU or not”.

However, he acknowledged that the tourism industry was sensitive to currency values, pointing out that the pound sterling had
always been a “fickle currency”, as it fluctuated quite often.

“These issues are not necessarily new. To be frank I am just happy that some sense of closure has been brought to this issue of whether they’re in or out. And, the truth is that Barbados has to do what we have to do. The brand is extremely strong in the UK and that is not going to change, and we have to continue to work hard.”

His position was in sharp contrast to that of the President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) Eddie Abed, who warned that the current uncertainty in Britain could not only affect tourism spending out of the UK, but also dampen travel from that market.

“A British visitor may be so uncertain about what his future holds that he may decide to put off his holiday for this year. These are the bigger questions we need to ask ourselves. So I would say definitely we need to fore plan and we need to try to cater to that individual and understand the uncertainty that they are currently going through,” the Chamber
president cautioned.

Sealy was also roundly criticized by Barbadians who reacted to the story on Barbados TODAY’s Facebook page and blogs.

“Which planet is Sealy living on? Stock market, real estate and currency in the UK plummeting and he don’t think that it will not (sic) affect us? The UK catches a cold and we don’t sneeze, we catch pneumonia,” one
poster stated.

“Again, Sealy gone on the selective hearing bandwagon. He needs to listen, understand and deliver. Brexit will affect BIM – foreign currency, expats pensions, tourist will travel elsewhere,” another posted.

However, the message from the British High Commissioner is to keep calm, at least for the

2 Responses to Keep calm

  1. jrsmith June 29, 2016 at 6:01 am

    I totally agree with the (High Commissioner ) 50 years of Barbados (Independence/ Dependency ) where has it taken us , we are so scared of loosing couple thousand visitors and the pound dropping few points and this is going to spell disaster for Barbados and the region.. why ..our useless politicians and the so call educated talk ,talk brigades seems to have lack the senses to not listen, this matter was in the happening more than a year ago..
    What our politicians in Barbados and the region has done to the masses, to keep reminding them of the history which has done nothing for the Blackman other than keep the people in check, while they look after themselves and others at the top end of the various islands…
    Decade after decade we stand at the cross roads waiting with tin cup in hand, for hand outs from the same (England ) we so desire to take independence from and wanting to ditch the (Queen) when it suits politicians stupid egos..

    Our failing we don’t have the politicians, or others capable enough to have had ourselves prepared financially and so regionally infrastructure, when this type of issue arises we ride the storm on our own backs, with regional and individual strength. we are poor countries, (but fear not ) the (British Government ) would and will always look after the region as they duty to the (Commonwealth) and (Her Majesty the Queen )

    The (EU) what is it ,what has it done for our region, they never really recognize the (Commonwealth)and what little they though they were doing, for us was from the (UK) contributions…this (UK) vote had to happen, Countries on continental Europe still hasn’t grasp the idea what is democracy .

    The (United Kingdom) doesn’t need the (EU) but it was tolerated for 4 decades , what is it 27 countries , most who are poor with very high unemployment, low wages, bad economies and are almost broke, and littered in far right political activist and thats what we are scared off ..

    I would think that we in Barbados have a dam lot socially and economically to consider, our people must wake up stop the stupidness of being label laid back , need to have our country back we need to be bajans again.. we must stop promising ourselves waiting and waiting for who and what we don’t know.

    Politicians have destroyed our country , destroyed our people they have forced our people to commit all forms of crime to survive, we must wake up get our fingers out , or else we are done. as I always say Barbados is there for the taking ,but not by bajans.. Amen

  2. Adrian Loveridge June 29, 2016 at 10:24 am

    I hope now that the British High Commissioner (HE Victoria Deane) will encourage UK companies to increase exports into Barbados and the Caribbean with a weaker value of Sterling.
    I cannot understand how (as an example) a 450 gram pot of Yeo Valley yogurt costs GB Pounds 1 in England and the same one cost nearly BDS$14 here (GB Pounds 5.38 at todays rate of exchange. Someone, somewhere is making a vast profit.


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