When, not if…
As I currently divide my time between Bermuda and Scotland, I can’t help but muse about the issue of independence, with the Scottish referendum on independence now in full swing.
Rather coincidentally a very old thread on the issue of Bermudian independence and Caribbean integration has sprung back to life with some interesting recent comments.
I’ve discussed the issue of independence now and then.
Ultimately, I think Bermudian independence is only a matter of time – the only question really is when, not if, as far as I’m concerned.
The French Model
Having said that, I would support what might be called the ‘French model’, where the UK becomes a federation (and preferably a republic at that!).
This would see continued devolved parliaments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as an English parliament – or perhaps even a series of regional parliaments in England (one for the ‘North’, one for the southwest and the midlands and one for London, for example).
And then a federal parliament, say based in York (a former British capital, and a more central one too).
Such a federal parliament would have MPs from the entirety of what is currently the UK, including MPs from the UKOTs. Under such a system each UKOT would represent a single constituency and elect a single MP – and as such we’d have representation in a truly British federation.
I call this the French model, as this is essentially what we see in Martinique and Guadeloupe. These French territories far to our south have their own local parliaments, but also elect MPs to the national French parliament.
I’m okay with such a model – I’d certainly prefer it to the status quo.
Even then though…
I’m not sure that would be any more sustainable than the status quo though – our interests would still be liable to being sacrificed for the interests of more geographically British ones, specifically the City of London, whose interests are in many ways contrary to our own current economic model.
The Caribbean or Lucayan alternatives?
A much more sustainable alternative, to me at least, is independence from the UK followed by integration with EITHER the Caribbean as a whole, OR with the Bahamas and the Turks & Caicos islands.
While the West Indies Federation failed, I don’t think that means that a Caribbean Federation wouldn’t work. I think it makes sense really to unite the region into a proper federation – incorporating Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Martinique, Guadeloupe, St Maarten/Martin and the ABC islands.
My vision here is for some sort of United States of the Caribbean – something more than the limited vision of CARICOM.
That’s perhaps more of a long-term goal though – realising a Lucayan Federation between Bermuda, the Bahamas and Turks & Caicos is perhaps a more realistic initial step.
We all share a common history and ancestry more than we do with the wider Caribbean, with both the Bahamas and TCI being founded by Bermudians and having had intimate relations, economically, ecologically and politically, almost since our respective post-Columbian origins.
Of course, Bermuda could quite easily just set off alone as an independent country in its own right.
I just feel that it a federation, one we’ve entered into mutually, would benefit us more than the status quo with the UK or straight up Bermuda alone independence.
We’d retain our own parliaments still, but develop a federal system too, and overall complement each other and generally be quite a successful federation in my opinion.
Not a silver bullet
Don’t get me wrong here, I don’t believe for one minute that taking down one flag and putting up another is going to magically change things.
It won’t. At all.
And I continue to support the general critique of such a mentality that the late Maurice Bishop and the NJM of Grenada had to say on this matter:
“But after all the celebrations and bacchanal are over and we wake up [the] next day (or next week) with a hangover, the price of food, clothes and everything else will still keep going up, wages will still be the same (or less), the condition of the schools, hospitals and roads (except for maybe two more roundabouts) will continue to get worse, and the people’s housing will still be the same or worse”
However, I’m not afraid of independence and if there was a new referendum on the issue I would vote in favour of it.
It’s not going to solve our issues, but I do think it can serve as one step towards doing that.
Time to organise?
The topic of the meeting was to discuss the issue of independence and tactics and strategy to realising Bermudian independence.
We set ourselves an ambitious target of seeing Bermudian independence by 2020.
I regret that we failed to follow-up on that plan.
Perhaps it’s time to reconvene and discuss the topic and to set out a positive vision for Bermudian independence and to work out a the tactics and strategies to give life to that vision.