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How a Vote for Scottish Independence Could Affect the Caribbean

Labour for Scottish Independence; photo by Màrtainn MacDhòmhnaill, used under a CC BY-NC 2.0 license.

Labour for Scottish Independence; photo by Màrtainn MacDhòmhnaill, used under a CC BY-NC 2.0 license.

As former colonies and current members of the Commonwealth, a group that comprises the United Kingdom and states that were once part of its empire, including dependencies, the Caribbean is taking a particularly keen interest in the Scottish referendum on independence from the UK. The move towards independence is being pushed by The Scottish National Party, which won 2011's Scottish parliamentary election by a definitive margin.

Proponents of the “Yes” vote maintain that the centuries-old union no longer meets modern-day needs. They feel like what West Indians refer to as the “outside child” of the UK parliament and think that Scotland can be better served by using its economic strength (primarily derived from oil and gas revenues) for its own interests.

“catch a fire”, a blog run by a Bermudian resident who can and will vote in this Thursday's referendum, thought that a vote for independence could have a strong impact on Bermuda. He noted that the British overseas territory actually held a referendum on independence in 1995, but “in general, support for Bermudian independence has hovered at around 25-30% – […] a minority position.” The blogger suggested that despite “the potential loss of the colonial carrots of home tuition and EU [European Union] citizenship, the Scottish independence movement – and actual Scottish independence in the event of a Yes vote – has the potential to captivate the imagination of Bermudians about the potential of Bermudian independence.”

The UK, in its current formation (of which Scotland is an integral part), offers many benefits to the Caribbean under the umbrella of the Commonwealth of Nations. Member states cooperate with one another on issues of democracy, including things like human rights, international peace, transparency, good governance and sustainable development, values which are enshrined in the Commonwealth Charter. The group is also supportive of the needs of smaller and more economically vulnerable member states.

With this in mind, a guest post by Sir Ronald Sanders at Barbadian diaspora blog The Bajan Reporter called Scottish independence “a one-way ticket to their own misfortune, and with consequences that will go beyond their borders”:

For countries in the Caribbean, a shrunken UK has several consequences. One of them is as basic as contributions to the Commonwealth Secretariat and its Fund for Technical Cooperation. […] The 12 Commonwealth Caribbean countries also need a strong UK in the European Community and in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development as an advocate for Caribbean interests […] there are a host of economic linkages including tourism, investment and development assistance that a less well-off UK will certainly be forced to curtail.

  • tomthumb015

    Its so hypocritical, lots of expat Scots living in the Caribbean sunshine pretending to wear their kilts and support the SNP? Sean Connery living the good life in the Bahamas, its a long, long way from rainy Glasgow, thats for sure.

  • wayne

    What about
    the Union Jack?

    Just
    because the oil is flowing now doesn’t mean it will forever flow
    One don’t
    separate just because things are going great now
    Should
    Wales, Cornwall, Ireland, the Isle of
    Man
    separate too
    Or should
    they go for more autonomy and stay to the union true
    Scotland
    has less than 10 million people smaller than a big city
    If
    Scotland is attacked by some
    great power it will be a great pity
    There are
    probably more Scots in the other parts of UK than in Scotland
    That pretty
    flag call the union jack will fly no more over distant lands
    Are the
    Scots distancing themselves from the achievements of the British
    Empire
    For foreign
    relations Scotland would have to face
    international intrigue and fire
    In the
    other British
    Isles
    should the islands of Trinidad separate from
    Tobago
    Because
    people rush to separate prosperity and fellowship they will forego

    Will the
    Scottish continue to use English language primarily or Gaelic
    Are the
    Scots cutting their own throats by thinking independence is
    a frolic?

    • J.C. P.

      I predict ISIS could try to target a separated Scotland to establish an Islamic strong hold that is right next-door to London.

  • MoiraJ

    How can a ‘Bermudian resident’ have a vote in the Scottish referendum!? It’s only open to people living in Scotland!

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