Thursday, June 1, 2023

The ‘Brexit’ Vote and Gambian Foreign Policy

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Mr Editor


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With so much concern and disquiet surrounding the United Kingdom, I find it useful to gauge and engage fellow Gambians in the debate thereof. This article is in reference to the so-called ‘Brexit’ referendum in which the British public voted to exit from the European Union. The result was so unexpected and a stunning blow to the aims and objectives of bureaucrats in Brussel, and the vast European public seeking a closer union. As news break on an undesirable of outcomes, Prime Minister David Cameron has tendered his resignation, with £sterling plummeting against the dollar, and uncertainty in the air across London and elsewhere. From Berlin, Paris, to D.C., world leaders are reluctantly digesting the flumes of this political earth-quake the ramifications of which shall continue to reverberate for months and years on end, even generations. Right-wing politicians pursuing vested interest had engaged in fictional politics inciting xenophobia in gathering votes. But the facts are these: In terms of commerce the Eurozone boasts the single largest market of over 300 million consumers enhancing cross-border trade and an opportunity not to be missed, but the people of the United Kingdom have spoken, and loud they have. The immigration debate had been heightened by the nationalist parties with NAZI connotations on an unprepared electorate careless with the facts. Regardless, whether one agrees with the result or not, the vote signifies the strength of people power in a democracy, in that politicians are agents of the electorate – showcasing that power belongs to the people.


The premise of this correspondence centres on the wider Banjul-London ties regarding bilateral cooperation touching on trade, tourism, education, and much more. I write in the believe that Gambian diplomats in London had anticipated such a development and have corresponded accordingly to their superiors in Banjul. It is hoped that the Foreign Ministry in Banjul will convene an emergency meeting as soon as possible – crucially at cabinet level with the President leading such a dialogue so as to gauge expertise opinion analysing the outcome and consequences therein pertaining to Banjul-London ties going forward. I urge a bi-partisan foreign relations select-committee of parliament to invite both the British Ambassador and the EU country representative to answer questions relating to the aforementioned referendum outcome and the consequences for the Gambia, if any. The country has a huge diaspora population spread across the United Kingdom who need reassurance from the leadership in Banjul as to its position on this. In terms of diplomatic niceties and manoeuvres, Gambian foreign policy should be revisited and reapplied across the island in furtherance of national interest goals as long as uncertainty prevails.


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As such the coming weeks and months are crucial with SCOTLAND expected to demand a referendum of its own seeking to leave the union (UK) restoring its independence as a sovereign nation. This democratic process shall be occasioning within the next 15 to 24 months – the outcome of which shall be that the Scottish people will vote to SECEDE from the UK. The far-right parties in the UK have played with people’s fears drumming up the immigration rhetoric and the country shall live to regret this decision. As discourse heightened across the political spectrum Northern Ireland look set to reunite with mainland Ireland in a different referendum, and Wales may follow suit. With so much uncertainty in the air, a complete break-up of the U.K. is not far-fetched leaving mere England standing by itself.


I urge the Gambia government to ready an EMBASSY IN EDINBURGH in the not-too-distant-future with an independent Scotland in view. The argument was that Scotland has been forced out of the EU by this result against their will. And from the premise of her statement earlier today, First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP had subtly intimated that the Scottish people want to remain part of the EU and her party will sort to fulfil those wishes. With a sizeable diaspora population, the Gambia will need a fully-fledged staffed embassy alerted to the West African country’s national interest across Scotland. The North-Sea oil producing region further North in the city of Aberdeen could form a lucrative trading post to such ties with the Gambia looking to explore oil and gas reserves off the Atlantic coast. The Gambia also has more of its citizens living in Scotland than any other African country and we must not be at the back of the queue in establishing a solid-trusted relationship with a future independent Scottish government linking trade, tourism, defence and much more.


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Edinburgh is an international city with limited office space and the Gambia may need to move fast in securing a desirable location. It is interesting that countries around the world have been alerted to this with a bevy of activities across the international foray over the past 24-hours. At such a juncture, Scotland shall reciprocate a diplomatic mission in Banjul entering into bilateral cooperation and agreements. However, the Gambia’s relationship with England must remain strong and unaltered, with BANJUL adopting an ETHICAL FOREIGN POLICY in pursuance of her NATIONAL INTEREST around the world.


Mr Gibril Saine


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