EDITORIAL – Our warmest welcome to Governor Choudhury and his family

Today’s arrival of new Governor Anwar Choudhury marks a new phase in his professional life and a new chapter in the political history of Cayman.

Based on his curriculum vitae, Governor Choudhury seems a cosmopolitan gentleman. We think he will be pleasantly surprised at the level of sophistication to be found on our little islands, thanks to our seafaring history and our role as a global financial center.

We are saddened that what should be a wholly celebratory occasion – the new governor taking up his new post in Cayman – comes amid what is no doubt an emotionally difficult time for Governor Choudhury and his family.

The governor’s father, Afruz Bakht Choudhury, died in London earlier this month. On behalf of the entire community, we offer our condolences and sympathies.

We think that Governor Choudhury, as a family man – he brings with him his wife Momina and three children – will appreciate the close-knitted nature of Cayman society, our relatively relaxed lifestyle and generally enviable level of public safety. We hope that the new governor is able to carve out appreciable amounts of time from his important duties to enjoy with his family the finest characteristic of Government House – its location on the world-famous Seven Mile Beach.

The governor is the most prominent and powerful figure in Cayman, bearing responsibility for our islands’ safety and security, constitutionally charged with ensuring “good governance,” overseeing the civil service, appointing members of the judiciary and public commissions, and holding a general, but rarely exercised, “veto power” over actions of our local government.

All governors brings their own style and expertise to their role in Cayman. A seasoned diplomat, Governor Choudhury appears to come especially well prepared for his new posting. He possesses impressive experience from his service in the British military, years spent in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and terms as Her Majesty’s ambassador in Bangladesh and, later, Peru. He also has a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a Master of Business Administration.

Biographically, he was born in what is now Bangladesh, and moved to the U.K. at a young age.

We trust that Governor Choudhury will find Cayman to be a warm and welcoming community, approximately half of whom, like himself, were born elsewhere. And while Cayman is a “Christian Nation,” our jurisdiction is home to residents from an array of faiths (including, according to the 2010 census, an Islamic community of more than 200 people) and more than 120 nationalities.

Governor Choudhury’s career has been distinguished by exemplary resolve and dedication. In 2004, he was the target of an assassination attempt by Islamic militants 18 days into his assignment in Bangladesh. According to local news reports at the time, he was leaving a religious shrine when a terrorist threw a grenade at him – the bomb bounced off his abdomen and then exploded, wounding Governor Choudhury and some 70 others, and killing a police officer and two bystanders.

While Governor Choudhury can expect a far more sedate stay in Cayman, we hope he brings his strong resolve to bear on the challenges and opportunities for success he will find here.

That includes persistent problems such as the creeping specter of violent crime, lackluster public schools, a bloated and inefficient civil service, a clogged court system, fully occupied prison and the continually rising tide of red tape and regulation.

The governor has the full support of this newspaper as he attempts to discharge his official duties. We convey to him and his family our warmest welcome as the newest members of the Cayman community.