Premier Craig Cannonier: “Governance of the Territories is a hot, hot topic — how Governors are chosen for the Overseas Territories.” *File photo, montage by Gary Foster Skelton
Premier Craig Cannonier: “Governance of the Territories is a hot, hot topic — how Governors are chosen for the Overseas Territories.” *File photo, montage by Gary Foster Skelton

Bermuda and Britain’s other Overseas Territories are to push for more say over the appointment of Governors.

Premier Craig Cannonier said that UK territories want more say in how Governors are appointed — and either a reduction in their powers or more say over their decisions.

Stressing that he was not talking about independence, Mr Cannonier added:
“Governance of the Territories is a hot, hot topic — how Governors are chosen for the Overseas Territories.”

The Premier was speaking from Gibraltar, where he is meeting with the heads of government of the Overseas Territories in the run-up to a summit meeting in London.


It’s time for a bigger seat at the table.

Premier Craig Cannonier said that UK Territories wanted more say in how Governors were appointed — and either a reduction in their powers or more say over their decisions.

Mr Cannonier added: “Governance of the Territories is a hot, hot topic — how Governors are chosen for the Overseas Territories.”

Mr Cannonier was speaking from Gibraltar, where he is meeting with the heads of government of the Overseas Territories in the run-up to a summit meeting in London later this year.

Mr Cannonier said: “I’m sure if you talk to Bermudians, most would like to see more choice in the Governor or less powers or a more collective voice in what he does with things like the police and the Regiment.”

He added that he would personally like to see more power vested in the island’s government, rather than unelected Governors appointed by the Crown.

Mr Cannonier said: “Yes, absolutely and I will leave it at that. It’s just another part of self-determination. This is not talking about independence, but to be able, within the structure we have, to have more self-determination.

“I think there is room for that.”

He added: “This is not a new subject or a new concern for us. As most of the Overseas Territories pay for their Governors, it is almost taxation without representation.”

He added that Bermuda’s constitutional arrangements allowed for more power for the elected government than many of the Territories.

Bermuda is largely self-governing – with the UK retaining only control over foreign policy, while the Governor still has overall control of both the police service and the Bermuda Regiment.

Mr Cannonier said: “It was very evident that Governors have different powers in all the Territories – Bermuda being the envy of most Territories because of our constitution.”

He added that the Territories had also shown a new willingness to work together and present a more united front to the UK government.

Mr Cannonier said that, while Bermuda specialized in reinsurance and captive insurance, the South Atlantic Falkland Islands had oil, while the British Virgin Islands were leaders in business incorporations — opening the way for the Territories to generate business for each other.

Mr Cannonier added: “We talked about how we can work together instead of cannibalizing each other’s main industries. We believe there are some synergies there and there are some things other domiciles can offer we don’t offer.

“Gibraltar, for example, is in a strategic position in Europe and we talked about how we can work with them to get business going in Europe.”

And he said that the Overseas Territories network also offered scope for generating employment across the board.

He explained: “Some Overseas Territories have employment opportunities and maybe we have resources and intellectual capital we can export overseas. We’re looking at ways which might make that happen.”

Mr Cannonier also said there was a willingness among Overseas Territories to combat a threat to offshore financial centres, often branded as ‘tax havens.

He added: “There is a greater awareness of our global needs and how we can collectively get the news out there about what we do.

“Even in Britain, there a lack of understanding about our different jurisdictions and about what we actually do. We’re not tax havens and what we do benefits the world and we need to get that message out.”