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Outcome of British election makes no difference to Jamaica and the Caribbean - Meeks

Published:Friday | May 8, 2015 | 12:00 AMGary Spaulding
Brian Meeks

With the 2015 election out of the way in Britain, the outcome will not make an iota of tangible difference to Jamaica and the Caribbean region, as there will be no dramatic change in foreign policy from a state which has its eyes set on its relationship with the European Union (EU).

That's the prognosis of Professor Brian Meeks, a noted political scientist at the University of the West Indies.

"Frankly speaking, for us, little [will] change. I can't conceive that there will be any possible permutations that will lead to great change in the UK foreign policy towards the Caribbean," said Meeks. "On the face of it, I don't think that there is going to be a dramatic change in UK policy towards the region."

Up to press time last night, Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party was projected to be within touching distance of forming a new government. An Associated Press exit poll said it had fared much better than expected in the elections.

Meeks predicted that broadly speaking, British policy will continue, which essentially has been one of one of benign neglect for the Caribbean, whether the Labour Party forms a coalition or the Conservative coalition returns in its present or modified form.

But Jamaica's High Commissioner to the UK, Aloun Assamba, asserted that Jamaica should take a keen interest in the polls.

"The UK is a member of the Commonwealth, and in addition, we have bilateral relations with it. We also have thousands of Jamaicans living and working here," said Assamba.

She suggested that whichever party forms the next Government will determine policies for the next five years, which will impact on them as well as Jamaica's relationship with the UK as a friendly nation.

 

POLITICAL HORSE-TRADING

 

It was a day when voting was expected to produce an ambiguous result, a period of frantic political horse-trading and a bout of national soul-searching.

Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives and Ed Miliband's Labour Party were reported to be running neck and neck, ahead of the polls and neither looked able to win a majority of Parliament's 650 seats.

Said Professor Meeks, whose work has addressed nearly every development in political methodology in the 20th century: "Britain has, for a long time, not had its eyes focused on the Caribbean as a central area of its policy and that will continue."

He predicted that focus will continue to be centred on the Middle East, Europe and, to a lesser extent, Africa and Asia. "The relationship with the United States is a historic one and we are very much in the backwater of that policy," he said.