In light of mounting uncertainty over the future of the United Kingdom following last week’s majority vote on a referendum to exit the European Union, British High Commissioner to Guyana Greg Quinn is resolute that his home country will overcome the challenges it is currently facing.Analysts and researchers have predicted that the UK’s decision to leave the EU might be just about enough to push the country’s economy into a recession.However, speaking at a press briefing on Thursday, High Commissioner Quinn is optimistic that the UK will emerge from this in a better state than it was before the vote. He further pointed out that those countries hoping that the UK’s global influence and impact will diminish following Brexit, are deluded and will be in for some major disappointments.Quinn explained that the UK remains the third largest economy in the World and still a member of the Commonwealth and one of only five countries on the United Nations Security Council that is a permanent member. He noted too that the British country is the only one that spends two per cent of its Gross Domestic Products (GDP) on defence and a mere 0.7 per cent on development.“So if people think that the UK is going anywhere, then I’m quite happy to say they are off on the wrong track. We are here to stay and we certainly intend to stay,” he declared optimistically.According to the British High Commissioner, the UK had indeed experienced some economic turbulence over the past few days following the Brexit vote but the country’s economy has since stabilised and may even get to a better state.“I will note that the UK stock exchange is now back at about the same level as it was before the results was known. Yes, Sterling dropped and if you want to buy anything from the UK, things are now significantly cheaper than they were this time last week,” he stated.Quinn went on to say that this was expected, noting: “There will be a period of correction in which the markets get used to this but historically, the markets always end up above where they started from. I am sure the course of whatever period of time it might take, we will end up back where we started or above.”On Thursday 23 June, 51.9 per cent of UK voted on a referendum to leave the economic bloc. This was despite a 48.1 per cent vote from London, Scotland and Northern Ireland, which were backing the stay within the EU.Since then, there have been many uncertainties about the future relation among the UK, Guyana and the EU. However, both UK and EU officials here have assured that this will not affect relations with Guyana or the Caribbean region.In fact, earlier this week, EU’s Ambassador to Guyana, Jernej Videti?, had recommitted the EU’s support to Guyana even after the exit of the UK, which was a major link between Guyana and EU.Meanwhile, the UK Diplomat in an interview with Guyana Times on Wednesday guaranteed that whatever consequences will follow, the relationship between Guyana and Great Britain will remain undefiled.“Looking to the longer term, I don’t see any change in the UK’s approach to Guyana. I don’t see any less a commitment and I don’t see any less support coming here,” he said.He explained that the United Kingdom is awaiting a new prime minister to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty since David Cameron has resigned and refused to lead this process.Until Article 50 is invoked, the process of leaving the EU will not commence.“The rights and responsibilities and obligations that the UK has as a member of the EU and that the EU has to the UK remain exactly the same. And even when that process is launched, it is going to take at least probably two years. We are talking about a long and complicated process,” he outlined.
MELFORT, Sask. — The father of a player killed in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash says he thinks meeting face-to-face with the truck driver who caused the collision was a powerful moment in both of their lives.Scott Thomas, whose son Evan died in the April 6 crash, said both he and Jakirat Singh Sidhu cried when the two met privately at Sidhu’s sentencing hearing this week. “It was a very powerful, very emotional 15 minutes,” said Thomas. “There were lots of tears on both our parts.“He said exactly what he said in court … ‘I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.’”Thomas was sitting in court in Melfort, Sask., Wednesday when Sidhu’s brother tapped him on the knee and asked if Thomas would meet with their family after the hearing ended for the day.“We went into a small room in the back,” Thomas told The Canadian Press in an interview Thursday.Thomas had frequently said he would like to meet with the truck driver.He said Sidhu asked him how he could make it right for his family.“I said, ‘So far, you’ve done everything that’s in your power,’” Thomas recalled. “He pled guilty, he took away the possibility of a long, drawn-out trial. He ended the proceedings in a pretty short and quick and efficient manner and definitely saved our families a lot of grief going forward.“In his words, he can’t do anything to make it better, but he can stop proceedings that make it worse. That’s what he did. He’s already taken steps in that direction.”Thomas said he accepted Sidhu’s apology.“Absolutely,” said Thomas. “It was a powerful moment in both of our lives, I think. It’s what I had asked for.”Ninety victim impact statements were submitted from family members over three days. They cried as they spoke of their unending grief for those who died and their frustration for those forever scarred. Some said they can forgive Sidhu, while others said they are too angry.Crown prosecutor Thomas Healey told court that he admired the ability to forgive, but that actions must have consequences. He said that while there has been no case like it before in Canada, a sentence of 10 years with a 10-year driving prohibition would be appropriate.The defence made no specific sentence recommendation but cited other dangerous driving penalties stretching from 1 1/2 to 4 1/2 years behind bars.Thomas said he wouldn’t want to be in the judge’s position of having to determine Sidhu’s sentence.“There’s definitely some parts of our conversation I am still not talking about, but the range of human tragedy in this is unbelievable,” said Thomas. “Any time I think I can’t get any deeper into this, something happens to continually break my heart.”Sitting through the victim impact statements was sometimes harder than the days after the crash, he said.“A couple of Mr. Sidhu’s family members were in the meeting with us and you could see the pain in their faces. So many families on so many levels.“From the 29 people on the bus to the billet families to the first responders who were there. There’s thousands and thousands of people who were impacted by this and every one of them has a unique story. It’s unbelievable.”Thomas said his strongest feelings in the case are reserved for a system that allowed Sidhu on the road with little experience and even less training.“If I harbour long lasting hard feelings toward anybody it’s toward the company that employed him … the trucking industry that allowed this to happen and the governments that allowed a man like him to be behind the wheel,” Thomas said. “I have a horrible feeling there are hundreds of others who are trained just as poorly out on the road right now. He thought he was just doing his job.”Provincial court Judge Inez Cardinal said she will hand down her sentence March 22.“However this happens, there’s no winners here,” said Thomas.“There’s going to be losers. No matter how that decision comes down, a whole bunch more people are going to lose.”— By Colette Derworiz in Edmonton.The Canadian Press