05 February, 2010
So far as I know, I have never met Colin Roberts. He is the successor to Leigh Turner as Director of the
British Overseas Territories, the FCO officer responsible for Anguilla. He has just been on a tour of the British Overseas Territories in the West Indies, most of them, that is, except Anguilla.
He has just been on his first official visit to the British Virgin Islands January 27-30.
From there, he went to the Turks & Caicos Islands, reviewing the progress of the Interim Government. The TCI Journal reports that, in the coming months, there will be a full review of the constitutional arrangements, the electoral system, and the political system of the TCI. They are going to get a brand new Constitution before August 2011. The British are not going to allow the TCI to go back to the old, winner-takes-all, Westminster-system of exploitative government that the people endured there under the present Constitution. Bear in mind that the TCI got its brand new Constitution only last year.
So, I wondered, who is this Colin Roberts? Where else do you go with such a question but to Debretts? There, I discovered that besides being a career diplomat he has been a lecturer at
Kyoto University 1983-84, was called to the Bar of England and in 1986, and entered the diplomatic service in 1989. That was twenty years ago. The bright young lawyer and diplomat has moved up to the top of the service. Wales
He has served as First Secretary (political/military) at the Paris embassy 1997-98, head of the Commonwealth Foreign and Security Policy Department at the FCO 1998-00, political counselor at the Tokyo embassy 2001-04, ambassador to Lithuania 2004-08, and now, since 2008, Director of Overseas Territories at the FCO and UK Commissioner for the British Antartic Territory and the British Indian Ocean Territory (yes, that’s Chagos).
So, a high-flyer in British intelligence and security is now in charge of the BOTs. Make no mistake about it, they have aimed the big guns on Anguilla and the other
. Consider our current Governor, Alistair Harrison. None of the recent non-entity, clerical types we have had can boast a similar career to his. They really have upgraded the rank of Governor of Anguilla! No more treating us like the friendly, harmless natives we are. Why the nerves, you ask. Is it perhaps that we are the gaps in the armour on the soft underbelly of the cousins on the other side of the pond? Could it be that a jittery Overseas Territories is demanding a higher level of reassurance? USA
We will never know what goes on at that level. We can only speculate.
What is clear is that Colin Roberts was well advised that he should not come to visit Anguilla at this time when we are in the middle of a vicious, drag-down, cut-throat, political campaign. We can expect him in
Anguilla within a week or two of the publication of the results of the 15 February 2010. Mark my words.
And then, can we hope that whatever constitutional reforms are implemented in TCI will next be implemented in
Anguilla? We live in hope that that is the message he will be bringing.