The British Virgin Islands (BVI) says it has been assured that the British Overseas Territory is eligible for associate membership within the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM).
CARIFORUM, which includes the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping and the Dominican Republic is tasked with engaging in policy dialogue with the European Union (EU).
Ambassador Najan Christopher said confirmation has come from the CARIFORUM Director General Percival Marie during the CARIFORUM Regional Consultation in Barbados earlier this month that focused on establishing an effective platform for dialogue between CARIFORUM and French Caribbean Outermost Regions (ORs) and British and Dutch Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs).
“We welcome that Associate Membership is open to the BVI. This status would give us a more meaningful status in CARIFORUM whereby we can participate in the Caribbean’s policy dialogue with the EU and regional coordination. At the moment we remain an Observer,”
The BVI government says it will likely no longer be an OCT after Britain exits the EU in March 2019 and that it is seeking to replicate the BVI’s current relationship with the EU through CARIFORUM and other regional mechanisms.
“My participation supports government’s policy response to Brexit. We are seeking to preserve as many of the existing benefits the BVI currently enjoys as an OCT with the EU. We also see a great benefit in the prospect of coordinating on EU issues with our neighbours in the region,” Christopher said.
“Our next step is to assess the requirements of CARIFORUM Associate Membership in preparation to upgrade our status,” she noted, adding that the BVI government will remain engaged with CARIFORUM and follow-up on the outcomes of the regional consultation.