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H.E. Stew says UK trade with the Caribbean will continue to grow, even as the transition through Brexit and out of the European Union continues, to December 31st, 2020.

High Commissioner says not many Trinbagonians caught up in Windrush issue

The British High Commissioner has confirmed that not many Trinbagonians are caught up in the ongoing Windrush scandal that rocked the UK a couple years ago.

His Excellency Tim Stew made the statement, as the Boris Johnson Government is set to transport up to 50 people to Jamaica on February 11th. It is the second major deportation of its type since the first a couple years ago, under the Theresa May Administration.

High Commissioner Stew told us the UK Foreign Ministry has contacted the families of those who may be affected by the controversial deportation decision.

He also points out that many members of the Caribbean diaspora who make up the Windrush generation, have made valuable contributions to the UK’s development, and that won’t be ignored or forgotten.

However, he explains that this latest move is intended to deal with those who are not being a positive force. The British Government maintains those being deported had been convicted of drugs and violence offences.

“It’s an individual, case by case thing,” he explains. “If we find that someone from that generation has consistently been caught up in criminal activity, then… In the same way that you wouldn’t want a Brit here for that same reason. Of course, we don’t want them particularly to stay.”

His Excellency expects the issue to be raised at the upcoming UK-Caribbean Forum in April—a meeting of foreign ministers from the UK and Caribbean countries.

Also on the agenda will be the UK’s continued relationship with the region, post-Brexit, in terms of trade, business and socio-cultural and technical cooperation opportunities.

According to His Excellency, the UK earned over half billion pounds sterling in trade with the region last year, a 16 to 17 percent increase over 2018 figures.

And he says that trade will continue to grow, even as the United Kingdom continues its transition through Brexit and out of the European Union, to December 31st, 2020.

“We have also signed a trade agreement with CARIFORUM,” he points out. “So, where the UK was part of the EU-CARIFORUM trade agreement, we now have a UK-CARIFORUM trade agreement. Trinidad and Tobago has signed up to that, and I understand, the ratification process is almost complete. And that is what will take effect at the end of this year when we cease to be treated as a member state altogether.”

High Commissioner Stew confirmed that once the UK ceases to be an EU member, a more formal series of negotiations will begin for UK-CARICOM and UK-CARIFORUM trade agreements, in 2021.