Wednesday, Aug. 22, marked 10 weeks since the announcement of the sudden, temporary removal of Governor Anwar Choudhury from his post without further explanation from U.K. officials.

On Thursday, Head of the Governor’s Office Matthew Forbes said he had “nothing further” to add at this stage regarding the fate of Cayman’s absent governor.

The most recent commentary by anyone on the subject came from the U.K.’s Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon who wrote in response to Cayman Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller on Aug. 2.

“It is important that the investigation process is able to proceed in a manner that is fair and protects the privacy of all involved,” Lord Ahmad, the minister for the British Overseas Territories, wrote. “It is therefore inappropriate for me to comment on the specific nature of the investigation until it has concluded.

“I do hope that the investigation process can be concluded as swiftly as possible for the benefit of all concerned.”

Governor Choudhury, 59, was “temporarily withdrawn” from office on or about June 12 by the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office amid unspecified allegations. It was later revealed that complaints had been made against the governor by staff members, but U.K. officials have repeatedly declined to discuss those matters.

An open records request filed with the U.K. government on the matter was denied.

A six-week deadline set at the beginning of the investigation against Mr. Choudhury was passed on July 25 with no action being taken. Officials acknowledged the delay was partly due to the death of Mr. Choudhury’s mother in July.

The two-month mark was passed on Aug. 8.

Since Mr. Choudhury’s removal, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson has stepped in as acting governor. Mr. Manderson also responded on Aug. 2 to separate correspondence from Mr. Miller on the subject.

“It is important that the investigation is allowed to conclude in a manner that preserves and respects the rights of all involved,” Mr. Manderson wrote.

In his July 27 memo to Mr. Manderson, Mr. Miller noted that an attempt by the acting governor and Mr. Forbes to quell community concerns via a “letter to the editor” to local media outlets sent on July 26 had done the opposite.

“If indeed the ‘Head of the Governor’s Office’ is also the chief complainer, the signing of the [July 26] letter would amount to a one-upmanship over [Mr. Choudhury] that would all but concede that the complainer was justified,” Mr. Miller wrote. “This would fly in the face of your letter’s assertion that the foreign and commonwealth office was committed to an ‘investigation … that is fair to all.’”

4 COMMENTS

  1. What people reading this need to remember is that Governor Choudhury is almost certainly a member of the FDA, which is basically the labour union for senior UK civil servants, and they will be fighting this so he’s not exactly on his own. If fact I’d be very surprised if they weren’t getting him lawyered up as soon as he was flown off the island.

    Sadly, my take on this (and it is based on some insight into the workings of the UK civil service) is that the FCO is now being forced to come up with a solution that will quietly make this all go away so we will not see Governor Choudhury back on these islands. It’s likely that all the well-intentioned moves to get him re-instated (and the not so well-intentioned moves to get him replaced) have backed the FCO into a corner that they desparately want to get out of with the minimum of embarrassment.

    There is actually quite an easy out for the FCO – early retirement. Having turned 59 in June, Anwar Choudhury is one of the oldest (if not the oldest) person to take on the job in the past three decades. In fact more than a few of his predecessors (Stuart Jack was the last) took the posting as a pre-retirement job and left when they turned 60. Despite all the recent changes in the UK, 60 is still the official retirement age for the pay grade of an OT Governor and I think that’s how this will be resolved. The kind of deal I would imagine being kicked around is that the FCO retain him on full pay until June next year then retire him with no loss of benefits.

    Incidentally, it might be worth finding out if Governor Choudhury’s family are still on-island because if they are the FCO has another problem – Article 8 of the UK’s Human Rights Act. This a rather broad-based piece of legislation but it does protect his right to a family life and keeping him 5500 miles from his wife and children for no good reason might be considered to be a breach of that right.

  2. Cayman Compass online readers , I have to say it is rediculous how I see the readers react to certain articles /topics . Why can’t we openly discuss / debate and agree or disagree on these suject articles the Cayman Compass brings to public attention . What is causing this behavior of the readership ? Here is a perfect example , the article had 42 people who admitted reading the article , but only 3 including myself commented and said anything about this dishonest removal of the best Governor, I think the Cayman Islands ever had .

    If we sit down and do/say nothing about these kind of things , one would have to think that nothing was wrong and will continue doing those kind of things . You need to speak up and use your freedom of speech and not let things get out of hand .