Career diplomat Martyn Roper said he was delighted to be appointed as the next governor of the Cayman Islands and determined to “listen and learn” from the people of the islands.
Mr. Roper will arrive in Grand Cayman next Monday to replace Anwar Choudhury, who was removed from the role after an investigation into complaints about his conduct. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has declined to reveal the nature of the complaints about Mr. Choudhury or if they were substantiated.
His replacement, Mr. Roper, was minister and deputy head of mission for the U.K. in Beijing, China, before his appointment.
The posting, announced Friday, is initially on an interim basis for the next 6-9 months though the Cayman Compass understands Mr. Roper has put himself in the frame for the job in the longer term.
“I am delighted to be appointed to the role by Her Majesty The Queen. It is a great privilege and honour. I take great pride in being part of the Cayman Islands and having an opportunity to serve its people,” he told the Cayman Compass in an email Saturday.
Mr. Roper, 53, from West Yorkshire, said his initial priority would be to get to know the people of the islands.
“First I want to listen and learn. I want to be the Governor the people of the Cayman Islands want me to be,” he said.
“I will work in a spirit of collaboration and partnership with the Premier, elected politicians and all sectors of society.”
After a 30-year career, including senior roles at the U.K. outposts in Brazil, Algeria and China, Mr. Roper said he had extensive experience working on wide-ranging issues in diverse parts of the world. His CV includes work on Overseas Territory issues in London, a stint at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and a spell as the U.K. ambassador in Algeria. In his most recent role in China, he ran a network of 800 people across five cities, with a major focus on trade and investment.
The move from the world’s most populous country to one of the smallest represents a change of scenery for Mr. Roper, but he said he was looking forward to the challenge.
“I have heard so many positive things. You are a unique community with a high level of self-government and you have a great deal to be proud of. My wife Lissie and I are greatly looking forward to arriving and getting to know as many people as possible across all parts of the community,” he said.
Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin posted on Twitter Friday about the appointment, saying simply, “I look forward to meeting and welcoming Mr. Martyn Roper to our beautiful islands.”
Opposition leader Ezzard Miller welcomed the speedy resolution to filling the vacancy left by Mr. Choudhury but questioned why a longer term appointment was not made.
He said Mr. Roper had an impressive CV.
“I look forward to meeting him and taking on the challenges for Cayman in the future,” he added.
Mr. Roper, is described in an FCO press release as a “highly experienced career diplomat with a successful track record in senior corporate leadership roles across the world.”
He was made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2013 on his return to the U.K. from his posting in Algeria.
He is married to Elisabeth, has two children, aged 26 and 22, and enjoys cycling, reading and tennis, according to a brief biography released by the FCO.