Brexit and Caribbean Security

June 22, 2018 Europe , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , UK

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Ricardo Swire



The United Kingdom is scheduled to surrender European Union (EU) membership on Friday March 29th 2019, with serious security implications for CARICOM. Less than one year remains as stakes get higher daily. Britain’s recent “Windrush Scandal” detailed heart-wrenching episodes related to unequal treatment experienced by Caribbean families residing in the UK.


Brexit’s negotiations are stalled on new immigration and border security policies, a stalemate caused by London’s desire to keep advantageous EU Single Market trade access plus retain immigration powers. Fourteen British Overseas Territories (BOTs) that include Caribbean jurisdictions Bermuda, Montserrat and Tortola face the absence of EU funding after Brexit.


Diplomacy dictates negotiating a new CARICOM/UK trade treaty. The EU generates fifty percent of UK’s trade, Commonwealth members accounting for nine percent. The Treaty of Lisbon Article 50 provides a mechanism for any EU state to formally withdraw from the group. Britain’s strategic importance to the EU’s defence and security collaboration makes its membership valuable.


In late April 2017 Britain indirectly contributed to the EU’s security paradigm via NATO, eight hundred Rifle Regiment troops being deployed in Estonia. The British detachment led the Enhanced Forward Presence of Allied Forces that modified NATO’s Eastern flank defences. Britain’s Brexit table-top dealing holds cards such as skilled capacities in battles against drugs trafficking, energy security, hybrid warfare and counterterrorism.


Brexit’s political strategists are mindful the British are well ingrained in EUROPOL and the European Counter Terrorism Centre. British intelligence processes provide most actionable data that supports European Arrest Warrants. Jane’s Annual Defence Budget Report 2016 chronicled how Britain bankrolled £53.8 billion on defence that year. Caribbean law enforcement and military apparatuses are heavily supported by and work closely with British national forces.


It is notable that the withdrawing EU member’s £278 billion ten year (2015 to 2024) defence investment budget qualified as third highest globally. Britain will need an exceptional Brexit deal considering its economic weight, security tools and military might as a European power. But “tinderbox” issues remain, ranging from the Irish Border and Gibraltar to the probability of another Scottish independence vote.





Ricardo Swire - Tuck Magazine

Ricardo Swire

Ricardo Swire is the Principal Consultant at R-L-H Security Consultants & Business Support Services and writes on a number of important issues.

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