GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands (CNS) — Cayman Islands Governor Anwar Choudhury will not be returning to the Cayman Islands but will be re-posted to London, according to an extremely brief statement from the governor’s office on Thursday. Officials said that a short-term successor will now be appointed while the recruitment process for a permanent replacement begins.
Choudhury was suspended from the job more than three months ago and recalled to the UK, following unspecified allegations against him from his household and office staff, understood to relate to bullying. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) appears to have completed the investigation but has not said anything at all about the findings.
Although Choudhury has not been fired, the fact that he is not returning to this posting is an indication that he was not completely cleared of wrongdoing regarding the unspecified complaints. But the FCO is not commenting on the results of the inquiry into the governor, who served for just a few months, having arrived in March this year.
Despite his brief stay, he had made a solid impression in that short time on the people of the Cayman Islands.
It is not clear if a petition started several months ago to have the governor returned as soon as possible was ever presented to the overseas territories minister, Lord Ahmad.
Shortly after the statement from the governor’s office, opposition leader Ezzard Miller released a statement expressing his disappointment that Choudhury will not be returning.
“This is particularly disconcerting as Mr Choudhury had won the hearts of the people of the Cayman Islands in the three months he was here, achieving a level of comfort and acceptance that the previous governor had not managed in five years,” Miller said on behalf of the opposition.
“Because of the affinity he had struck with the people of the Cayman Islands and their concerns, I had held out hope that Mr Choudhury would have been afforded the opportunity to continue to serve his term and make the changes that are so necessary to improving governance and to reducing corruption.”
Miller described that statement from the FCO as “high-handed” with an “autocratic tone” that “communicates a lack of respect for Caymanians”.
He added, “The FCO seems to have forgotten that we have advanced since the early 20th century when dictates from our colonial masters were accepted without question.”
The opposition leader said the UK should have given a reason for Choudhury’s recall because the reposting to London suggested the “allegations against the governor could not have risen to any very serious level”.
Miller also raised concerns about the plan to replace acting governor Franz Manderson with a temporary governor.
“This similarly communicates disrespect in its implication that Mr Manderson’s performance has been prohibitive of his continuing to act until a replacement for Mr Choudhury is found. I assert that the recruitment process should not be so protracted that it would require an interim governor, with its inherent disruption and lack of continuity.
“I see no reason for Mr Manderson being sidelined and we unreservedly support his continuing in the post until a new governor is recruited,” Miller said, adding that sweeping Manderson aside added further insult to injury over the way this matter has been handled.
Republished with permission of Cayman News Service