Britain’s future with the European Union — and Bermuda’s with it — is set to go to a referendum this summer.
On June 23, voters across the UK will vote on if they wish to remain in the EU. While those who support membership argue that it provides an economic benefit to Britain through easier business dealings and immigration opportunities, opponents believe EU membership imposes too many rules and hinders the UK’s ability to control its borders.
While a “no” vote could affect British Overseas Territories citizens’ ability to travel, reside and work in the EU, Governor George Fergusson said any details of any changes would be hashed out after the vote.
“The UK Government is committed to continued membership of the EU and is actively campaigning for this in the forthcoming referendum,” the Governor said. “If the UK were no longer in the EU, any questions which arose about the position of British citizens, including British Overseas Territories citizens, in EU member states would need to be resolved in subsequent negotiations.”
Asked if Bermudians would be able to have a say in the decision, which could directly impact them, Mr Fergusson said only those who have lived and registered to vote in the UK would be eligible to vote in the coming referendum. He said: “The position on voting is that the legislation underpinning the referendum has designated that the franchise will be the same as for General Elections in the UK plus members of the House of Lords and voters in Gibraltar, which is in a different position in relation to the EU than other Territories.
“However, Bermudians and citizens of the UK and other Commonwealth countries and Ireland who have lived in the UK and been registered to vote there in the last 15 years will be able to vote — they should register at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.
“There are options for eligible voters to use postal, proxy votes or vote in person if they happen to be in the UK on June 23.”
by: Owain Johnston-Barnes