For our purposes, we must read his comments with a view to better understanding how high British officials see our relationship with
Mr Taylor makes some interesting points. He reminds us that when the
He discusses how come some of us have not yet gone independent. He argues that the persistence of Colonialism in our territories is usually explained in terms of viability. But, it is more complicated than that. He suggests that there has been a tacit agreement between the politicians and their electorates not to ask for it. In their heart of hearts, most politicians would like it. The people, he suspects, regard continuing dependence as a safeguard against weak or corrupt government. The inertia of history also plays a part. He is also perceptive to realize that the present constitutional arrangement suits our political leaders well. It enables them to take the credit for good things. It allows them to blame
He argues that the Governor is halfway to being a constitutional monarch. He must act on the advice of Ministers in most matters. He can take his own decision only in those areas reserved for him. In practice, this means that the Constitution provides continuous opportunities for turf wars between the two. Political pressure is particularly exercised over public service appointments and dismissals. While these are constitutionally clearly matters for the Governor, they often involve hidden pressures and political loyalties.
He points out that there is inevitably and frequently a conflict of interest, or natural difference of agenda, between what Ministers want and what the British Government or the Governor finds acceptable or desirable. He pinpoints the rogue businessmen from the
His position is that this would not matter very much if the islands’ constitutional arrangements were indeed the prelude to independence, which they were intended to be. Instead, the Governor finds himself holding the line on behalf of the British Government. He must be careful not to set precedents which will make things difficult for his successor. He will be judged in
The islands are of marginal importance to the FCO. Perhaps this is because they sense their lack of ability to do much about them. They are a continuing potential source of embarrassment. The Audit Office, for example, focuses on progress made to minimize the risk of liabilities falling on the
The situation is further complicated when there is a division of responsibility at the level of the British Government between DFID and the FCO. In an emergency, there will be confusion as to who is responsible. Is it the Governor, the Ministers, the FCO, or DFID? Each one will have a different perception as to needs as well as to solutions. There will be resentments, differences of perception, and conflicting priorities. His argument is that the Constitution of a
Clearly, it is in
He takes the official British position. Advanced colonial constitutions are unequal to the demands of emergencies. Overlapping responsibilities frustrate an effective response to a crisis. The delicate balance between the Governor, the local government, and the FCO, depends on consultation. The result is that there is no one with untrammeled executive control. He concludes that it would be an improvement for the Governor to be able to assume powers of direct rule.
He is wrong, of course. It would be better for it to be absolutely clear that the British Government and the Governor do not have the final say in what happens internally, even in time of emergency. And, this even if it means that the best decisions are not taken.