The warning was sounded yesterday September 17 by former Chief Education Officer and public commentator, Elroy Turnbull, on Claude Skelton Cline’s Honestly Speaking radio programme.
Turnbull said the UK carefully handpicks governors to suit the sentiments they have towards each Overseas Territory and to carry out particular missions in those jurisdictions.
Giving an example, Turnbull said: “So they’ll say, ‘we want a governor because you are rough and tough [and] we are sending you to the BVI to prevent Lavity Stoutt having a college’,” Turnbull said.
He added that one of the ways in which the UK government forms its agenda for the BVI and other territories is by sending spies to gather information.
“The British send MI6 agents here to monitor us,” Turnbull said.
MI6 is the British secret service agency that collects intelligence to serve the government in the same way the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) collects foreign intelligence for the US government.
“We have proof of that. It happens all the time. What happens is that these guys keep abreast of the local news and what’s going down, the newspapers; what they consider important. It goes to the governor and the governor sends it off,” Turnbull said.
“They have us under surveillance. It’s been going on for years and years. As a matter of fact, it’s sometimes said that what happens in the BVI; the people in England know it before our neighbours know what’s going down,” Turnbull said.
He did not explicitly state the evidence to support his claims. But he said the BVI must know that governors are sent to advance a specific agenda on behalf of Britain.
“They sometimes select a governor based on his character and experience to do certain jobs. Governors don’t just suddenly come here when they send a governor, you know. A governor is selected based on what they want done. This happens in all the territories.
He continued: “For example, there have been conflicts in Anguilla with the governor, Monsterrat, Cayman Island. Part of the whole thing is the British and what they want to do. We have to wake up to all these things that are taking place because people will think things are always rosy and nice. But the British always have an agenda,” Turnbull said.
Earlier this week, the BVI was informed that Governor Augustus Jaspert will be leaving office in early 2021.
A media release from the Office of the Governor said the incoming governor, John Rankin, will be arriving in the territory in January to replace Governor Jaspert.
“This will allow time for him to settle ahead of the key priorities that the territory expects to face in 2021. He brings with him more than 30 years of experience in the public service, most recently serving as Governor to Bermuda,” the release said.
It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.