November 20, 2019

The Editor Speaks: The Curious Case of Governor Choudhury

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Following on from a petition being circulated here titled “Bring Back Cayman Islands Governor Choudhury” and a Statement from the Governor’s Office on “withdrawal of ” we now have two Memos written by Leader of the Opposition, Ezzard Miller.

I can agree with Miller entirely with his concerns.

The update that from the Governor’s office, signed by Acting Governor Franz Manderson and Head of the Governor’s Office Matthew Forbes, told us absolutely nothing.

We were initially told the investigation would take four to six weeks. Six weeks has passed us by. No time line now has been given.

“Please be assured that we will provide further updates as soon as we are able to do so ……..” the Governor’s Update says. If it is anything like the update now provided they shouldn’t bother.

‘We are updating you telling you we can’t update you but will update you when we can and we can’t tell you when that update will be,” That is what that update told us.

Miller raises many concerns. His main one being:

Note: Taken from Memo to Acting Governor Franz Manderson –

“i) The logical deduction from these references to staff under policy suggests that the complaints have come from the Governor’s Office, given that the does not have disciplinary jurisdiction over local staff.

“That in itself raises as a matter of principle the concern about the exercise of power of junior staff over a governor of the Cayman Islands. In addition, I have heard nothing about an opportunity for both the Governor and those making the allegations to be questioned together. This would have obviously provided for greater assurance of a truthful and fair conclusion to the investigation.

“ii) Given that the logical deduction is that FCO staff here were the originators of the complaint, it is safe to assume that the “Chief of Staff”, the co-signer of the letter, would naturally be a party to the complaints, if only in terms of facilitating them. I am nevertheless asking for confirmation of whether the Chief of Staff is also the chief complainer, as it cannot possibly be appropriate for a complainant to be party to communication on an investigation that was triggered by him or her. This would be a clear suggestion of bias and would seriously undermine the public’s confidence that the investigation will lead to a trustworthy outcome.”

And

“7. Sixth, elevating to a status on a par with the governor the person whom we now deduce from your letter to be at least a facilitator if not the chief complainer paints a bleak picture about the fair outcome of the investigation.

“If indeed the “Head of the Governor’s Office” is also the chief complainer, the signing of the letter would amount to a one-upmanship over the complainee that would all but concede that the complainer was justified. This would fly in the face of your letter’s assertion that the FCO was committed to an “investigation…that is fair to all”.’

Miller also asks about “the widely circulating rumour that former Governor Helen Kilpatrick is being considered as interim governor. I would appreciate confirmation as to whether there is any truth to this rumour.”

In Miller’s Memo to of Wimbledon, FCO Minister for the Commonwealth and UN he writes:

“While in the past governors were summoned to the UK for consultation and advice, we have never had a governor to be “withdrawn” pending an “investigation”. Such nebulous and loaded language has spawned widespread speculation and suspicion in the community about the treatment of Mr. Choudhury.

“Those community concerns have been heightened by Mr. Choudhury’s popularity across all strata of the population, who had experienced the new Governor as a breath of fresh air offering hope for much needed change.

“His positive interactions across the community at large was such that he had begun to improve the declining relationship between the Governor’s Office and Caymanians.

“His withdrawal at this time now places at great risk the progress he had made in mending relations.”

You can read both of the Leader of the Opposition’s Memo on our website today under “Cayman Islands Opposition Leader writes two memos regarding Governor Anwar Choudhury”.

The whole case of Governor Choudhury’s temporary removal is indeed very curious and as Alice said when she was in Wonderland the whole thing gets “curiouser and curiouser”.

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