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Brexit what does it mean for the Caribbean?

For Release Upon Receipt - March 1, 2019

St. Augustine

Brexit will have both negative and positive effects on relations between the Caribbean and the European Union (EU). This was amongst the main issues discussed at a seminar hosted by Institute of International Relations (IIR) at The University of the West Indies (The UWI) St. Augustine Campus. The seminar, which was held on Friday, February 8, 2019 focused on the status of negotiations between the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of states and the EU.

Relations between the ACP group of countries and the EU go back to 1975 when the first Lomé Convention was signed. Successive partnership agreements (Lomé II, III, IV and the Cotonou Agreement) have shaped the relationship to the present time. The seminar focused in particular on  negotiations to develop a framework to replace the Cotonou Agreement which was signed in 2000 and will expire in February 2020.

Dr. Annita Montoute, Lecturer at The IIR, explained that the seminar was timely, given that the ACP and the EU are currently engaged in negotiations for a framework to govern their relations. “The on-going deliberations are massively significant, not only for the direction of North-South relations and international affairs in this new era, but also for the potential they hold to profoundly impact ACP states and the lives of ordinary citizens in those countries,” said Dr. Montoute.

In addition to the impact of Brexit on the Caribbean, other points arising from the seminar included:

  • The changing global climate is affecting ACP-EU relations
  • There is need to interrogate the relevance of the ACP group as the preferred framework for engaging with the EU
  • There is need to address asymmetries in the ACP-EU relationship
  • The private sector is important in the ACP-EU partnership
  • Diversifying ACP partnerships beyond the EU is important, for example with emerging economies

The seminar also featured the launch of the book, The ACP Group and The EU Development Partnership: Beyond the North-South Debate, which was edited by Dr. Montoute and Dr. Kudrat Virk, Senior Researcher at the Centre for Conflict Resolution in Cape Town, South Africa. The publication provides a systematic and critical assessment of the nature, evolution, and prospects of the partnership between the ACP group and the EU.

In addition to Dr. Montoute, other Caribbean-based contributors to the book include Dr. Keith Nurse, Senior Fellow at the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies, WTO Chair at The UWI and former IIR lecturer; Dr. Anthony Gonzales, Honorary Senior Fellow and former Director and Senior Lecturer at the IIR; Professor Norman Girvan (deceased), Professor Emeritus and Professorial Research Fellow of the IIR; and Dr. Patrick Gomes, Secretary-General of the ACP and Former Ambassador of Guyana to Belgium and the European Union.

Speaking at the book launch, Dr. Kusha Haracksingh, Honorary Consultant in the Office of the Vice Chancellery of The UWI, praised the book for its pedagogical value and policy relevance, “the work effectively captures the main issues in the ACP-EU relationship.” Other guest speakers at the event included Mr. Geert Laporte, Deputy Director of the European Centre for Development Policy Management; Dr. Gonzales, and Ambassador Gail Mathurin, Director General of the Office of Trade Negotiations of the Barbados Office of the CARICOM Secretariat.


The African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group has a membership of 79 states, representing one billion people. It is the largest intergovernmental body of developing countries with a permanent secretariat and its partnership with the European Union (EU), since 1975, represents the world’s most comprehensive legally-binding North-South agreement. Under the development cooperation pillar of the ACP-EU partnership, the EU allocated €31.5 billion under the European Development Fund for ACP countries for the period 2014-2020.


About The UWI

For the past 70 years The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has provided service and leadership to the Caribbean region and wider world. The UWI has evolved from a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948 to an internationally respected, regional university with near 50,000 students and four campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, and an Open Campus. As part of its robust globalization agenda, The UWI has established partnering centres with universities in North America, Asia, and Africa such as the State University of New York (SUNY)-UWI Centre for Leadership and Sustainable Development, the UWI-China Institute of Information Technology, the University of Lagos (UNILAG)-UWI Institute of African and Diaspora Studies and the Institute for Global African Affairs with the University of Johannesburg (UJ). The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science & Technology, Social Sciences and Sport. 

As the region’s premier research academy, The UWI’s foremost objective is driving the growth and development of the regional economy. Times Higher Education has ranked The UWI among the top 1,258 universities in world for 2019, and the 40 best universities in its Latin America Rankings for 2018, and was the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists.  For more, visit

(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)