It’s that time of year – lights are up in Hamilton, the shops are bustling with late night shopping, driving in town is crazy, the grocery stores are full of people getting their Christmas dinners and… we have our annual Christmas messages to the people from various politicians and religious leaders. To be completely honest I generally just skip this as so much wasted newsprint. However, in this years message the current Governor makes a clear reference to his impending departure, scheduled for 2012.
When Governor Gozney first came to Bermuda I actually tried to citizen arrest him on charges of crimes against humanity. I hold him as being directly involved in facilitating the Indonesian invasion of East Timor under the late Indonesian dictator Suharto. At that time Mr. Gozney was a low-level officer with the FCO based in the Jakarta embassy. In that role he actively helped provide logistics and intelligence to the Indonesian military which was of great help in facilitating their invasion (I should note that while he is only mentioned exclusively in Document 22, there is reason to believe he had a much more extensive role). The UK subsequently made a profit selling military hardware to the Suharto regime. Subsequently he has worked in the privatisation of water services, being involved in the Thames Water Company; essentially, as an overseas representative of the UK he often sought to facilitate UK business interests overseas, notably in water privatisation schemes such as those in South Africa and South America.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get close enough to him and evade his security and since then I’ve been largely off-island.
With Mr. Gozney leaving Bermuda will be receiving a new Governor in 2012. Which leads to the question of who the replacement may be, what will this mean for Bermuda (especially in light of developments in TCI and Anguilla of late), and do we get value for money from ‘hosting’ the Governor? I believe the Governor receives a wage of approximately $250k per year, in addition to having his rent and utilities covered by us, plus a ‘company car’. And for what? Most people only ever see the Governor for various award ceremonies, public rituals (mostly parades, the Throne Speech) and at parliamentary/senate swearing-ins. Nominally he is also in charge of our foreign affairs and defence, as well as internal security (police) and appointing independent senators (which brings up another matter altogether…). Is that worth the pay and perks he receives from us? One would have thought that free rent, transportation, utilities and food would be sufficient for what is essentially an easy life sitting pretty in our largest mansion.
With the UK seeking to ‘redefine’ relationships between the Overseas Territories and the UK proper, perhaps it’s time we push for some significant reforms in the role of the Governor, or, at least, get a better deal out of it.