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 Wales 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.
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 Overseas Territories.  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 USA is demanding a higher level of reassurance? 
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.


  1. Upgrading the quality of OT Governors is the result of complaints from the Foreign Affairs Committee, and the political and economic disaster in TCI.

    Roberts is a decent chap who doan allow no stupidness. Harrison is the best Governor we've had since Allan Hoole and Brian Canty.

  2. I think we all agree the upgrade began with Gov Huckle. Allan Hoole was a friend of mine, but he was a provincial solicitor by profession, even if a good one. Brian Canty, was, I believe, a retired naval officer. I sorry, my memory going. But, this does not put either of them in the ranks of Huckle and Harrison who are top-ranked FCO operatives.

  3. Former Governor Canty did serve in the Royal Navy for a few years, but was a career diplomat in the foreign service for 21 years. He cared about the people of our island.

  4. I remember Canty with fondness. I remember all the activity surrounding the public involvement in the designing and choosing of a flag and seal for Anguilla, which, if I recall correctly, was an initiative of his. I remember Petty and I were involved on his committee. I no longer remember who the others were.


    There is documented evidence that there was a plot by the British Foreign office to deliberately permit the United Front Government to bankrupt Anguilla. Then, the British would have stepped in with a loan. The Anguillians would have been grateful to the British and all the talk about self-government would have been over.

    Unfortunately for the plotters in the Foreign Office, the world economy crashed, and Britain was in a worst financial mess than they had put Anguilla in. Also, since St.Helena was calling for an airport which the British could no longer afford, they could not very well play the trump card with Anguilla.

    The British allowed the United Front Government to give itself and the entire civil service a 75% increase in salary over the 9 years that it has been in office. The United Front “big boys” turned government into a business for themselves, their friends and family and the Governor/British encouraged it, with the appointment of lame political hangers on as special assistants and political advisors.

    I agree with Mr. Hubert Hughes that Britain should be charged with mal administration!
    Also, IN MY OPINION that 75% salary increase is THEFT!

    Seriously Mr. Mitchell, when will the British stop playing these wicked colonial games on innocent island people? WE want the British to be investigated!!!!!

    Signed: ANNOYED

  6. "Annoyed" has a big mouth but I notice he failed to send you copies of the alleged "documented evidence."

  7. The evidence is the 75% increase thats easy 4 u 2 find out, or ask your friendly finance or admin worker to help u do the math. We know math skills are lacking in Uk and cbean.


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