Premier welcomes governor in video call

Governor Designate Martyn Roper

Premier Alden McLaughlin said he is looking forward to working with the island’s new governor Martyn Roper after the pair spoke for the first time via video conference Tuesday.

The new governor, formerly deputy head of mission for the U.K. in Beijing, China, arrives on island Monday. The premier said the two men had a positive conversation, Tuesday, and he believes they will build a “cordial and productive” working relationship.

“I am pleased to have heard directly from Mr. Roper his eagerness about working in the Cayman Islands and to also have him provide firsthand information on his background and experience working with other Overseas Territories,” said Mr. McLaughlin in a statement Tuesday evening.

The premier also revealed that his government had some input into outlining the necessary credentials required for the role, before the appointment of Mr. Roper. According to a submission to a U.K. parliamentary sub-committee, government is seeking more input in the longer term into such appointments, including power of veto over the U.K.’s governor choices.

On this occasion, Mr. McLaughlin suggested the Foreign and Commonwealth Office had agreed to take his advice on board in terms of outlining the qualities needed in a new governor.

He said he had written to Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, the minister with responsibility for Britain’s overseas territories, recommending that whomever was appointed to the role had a good knowledge and preferably experience of working with overseas territories.

He wrote, “They will need to have an appreciation for the separate roles of the elected government and the Governor’s Office and to be able to hit the ground running.”

Mr. McLaughlin, in his letter to Lord Ahmad, also suggested the experiences of former governor Helen Kilpatrick be considered as part of the recruitment process.

He wrote, “This would, I believe, go a long way to giving us confidence that the process would give us someone who understands and respects the role of the Premier and the Government whilst also appreciating that Caymanians understand full well how to grow and keep our islands safe and prosperous.”

In his press release, the premier said Lord Ahmad had taken that advice on board.

He added,“I thank Lord Ahmad for the opportunity to provide advice on the qualities needed in the incoming governor.

I am also grateful that, in speaking with Mr. Roper, he indicated he has had conversations with former Governor Kilpatrick with regards to her role and experiences when she served as governor of the islands.”