January 23, 2022

Lord Howard says UK-Caribbean links will remain strong

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220px-Michael_Howard_1099_croppedBy VERNE BURNETT From T&T NewsDay

The newly appointed patron of the British Caribbean Chamber of Commerce, The Right Honourable Lord Michael Howard of Lympne, said last week that it will not make the slightest difference in Britain’s relationship with the Caribbean whether the UK remains in the European Union (EU) or withdraws from it.

Lord Howard made the comment in response to a question from economist Dr Ronald Ramkissoon, moderator of a members’ networking luncheon meeting held by the Chamber at the bpTT Executive Box at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port-of-Spain. The meeting was organised last Thursday to welcome Lord Howard to Trinidad. He is in the country for several days to promote the strengthening of bilateral trade between the UK and the Caribbean as indicated by British Prime Minister, David Cameron during his visit to the Caribbean last year. The British Prime Minister was in Brussels last Thursday for the beginning of talks with EU leaders on Britain’s future in the union. He is seeking a number of changes to the treaty which established the EU, among them limits – a so-called “emergency brake” on benefits for migrants living and working in the UK.

Lord Howard said if Britain does decide to leave the EU the strong historic links between the UK and the Caribbean will continue and the UK will be able to make its own trading arrangements with the countries of the Caribbean and will not necessarily be bound by the trading arrangements made by the EU.

Dr Ramkissoon also asked Lord Howard what the region could do to increase tourist arrivals from the UK and Europe, particularly in light of declining energy prices. Lord Howard replied that the Caribbean has many natural advantages, among them its climate and friendly people which he said is one of the Caribbean’s greatest natural assets.

He added that the region is being helped at the moment by the unrest in the other parts of the world to which people from the UK and Europe would normally go to holiday.

He said he thought the region was doing well in attracting tourists but advised that the Caribbean needs to ensure that its standards of service are high, that the standard of the facilities which it offers to visitors is also high and that the Caribbean remains a stable part of the world because the region’s stability is also one of its big selling points.

According to a statement distributed by the Chamber, Lord Howard is a member of the UK House of Lords and has held senior Parliamentary positions in the UK Government for almost three decades, key ones being Leader of the Conservative Party and Leader of the Opposition from 2003 – 2005.

He also served as Secretary of State for Employment and Home Secretary during 1993 and 1997 in the John Major Cabinet. The delegation on his visit to Trinidad is led by Dr Ian Kelly, Chief Executive Officer of the British Caribbean Chamber of Commerce and Deputy CEO, Pauline Wade. They are accompanied by John Entwistle, past President of the British Chambers of Commerce in the UK.

Lord Howard and his delegation paid a courtesy call on His Excellency President Anthony Carmona yesterday and were also scheduled to meet Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon.

For more on this story go to: http://www.newsday.co.tt/news/0,224366.html

IMAGE: en.wikipedia.org The Right Honourable The Lord Howard of Lympne

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