90’s governor berates UK bosses in final dispatch

| 18/08/2016 | 32 Comments
Cayman News Service

Former governor Alan Scott and his wife, Joan Scott, on the cover of her book, The Governor’s Lady

(CNS): A dispatch sent to London 24 years ago from the outgoing governor of the Cayman Islands, which was released by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office this month, berates the colonial rulers for ignoring the overseas territories and not managing them properly. Alan Scott, who served as the governor here from 1987 until 1992, used his valedictory dispatch, or final message from his posting, to point out the shortcomings of the UK in its dealings with Cayman. Accusing the British of cutting the island off after they began to make their own way, he said the few FCO officials who visited stayed for short periods and were patronizing and did not “appear to listen”.

“The impression is of birds of passage, not wishing to learn much, and anxious to pass on. The governor is left to explain this to the government and people,” he said in the dispatch, which traditionally allows departing diplomats a rare opportunity to say what they really think.

“This is part of the general malaise; diplomatic service officers are not much concerned about dependent territories and do not wish to spend even three years in a career working in them, or for their interests at home,” Scott added.

The former governor’s opinion may well be shared by many in Cayman and other territories and his criticisms that the FCO departments dealing with the territories are understaffed and under-resourced and not generally attractive to career diplomats is probably no different 24 years on. But Scott hits the nail on the head best when he talks about the plentiful bureaucracy in the face of little action when it comes to the UK’s remaining colonies.

“Since 1962, I have been involved in ‘conferences’ and the production of papers about the future of the colonies, their management and the identification and career development of those to manage them. The arguments are rehearsed again and again, conclusions are reached, and little action follows. It has been a depressing experience; and humbling because of one’s training of decent standards and proper respectability for these territories,” he wrote.

“The basic difference between a diplomat and a colonial servant is starkly clear; the former is trained to think of and advance the interest of the UK government in relation to other nations; whereas the latter is trained to think of and to advance the interests of the nation which he administers on behalf of the Queen and the UK government,” he added.

Despite the attitude of the FCO towards Cayman, the governor was confident of its future.

“Cayman, in my estimation, because of its basic common sense, fortitude and good fortune, will nevertheless survive – which is why my wife and I have chosen to settle here and share the future with these extraordinary people, who have made such a success from such unpromising resources,” he added.

The document was released by the FCO following a freedom of information request made by Scott himself.

See link to the full document in the CNS Library

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Category: Local News, UK, World News

Comments (32)

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  1. Rick says:

    This is the guy who will be remembered for wanting to put people off the public beach. What really got to me was the attempt by local officials to coach this as a security issue, when everyone knew it was his wife who wanted the beach to herself.

    Oh, and that woman he fired? She is recently deceased. Went to her funeral. Great lady who will forever be remembered as standing up and refusing to bow to ‘Lady’ Scott.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Scotts final report only serves to confirm historically what happened to Cayman. It was often believed by older Caymanians, who became resentful to Jamaica’s administration of the islands, that Jamaica was keeping most of the grant aid instead of routing it to aid in Cayman’s development.

    This resulted in several delays most notably in our social development with no public high schools in Cayman until the 1960’s and this only occurred after the Presbyterian Church started one in the 1940s. Hence this is the primary reason for the current tensions between the two islands.

    However our resourcefulness as shown by Scott bore out in the long term. Notwithstanding that we selected economic development over political development when compared to Jamaica (who have recently emphasized the former) it is imperative that the local employment situation is addressed to prevent social decline in areas we worked for decades to develop.

    Cayman unfortunately seems to be providing employment for the world instead of our own. Surely charity begins at home. It takes intelligent people to lead us and take decisions in our best interests. When will we again have statesmen like Scott spoke about in the 1984-1992 administration rather than those who appear to only be self-serving in modern times.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I clearly remember Scotty riding his bicycle all around the islands but apparently made a few “scheduled stops” along the way.

    He and his wife were supposed to retire in Cayman at a condo they purchased, at The Retreat next to
    Rum Point.

    However, when the scandal hit that he had impregnanted a local girl from the Brac who later had a daughter for him, that was end of the retirement in Cayman. Furniture was being sold at bargain prices.

    Scotty was a playboy but let’s not forget the wife. Does anyone remember the poor old Jamaican lady who worked at Government House for donkey years serving several of our governors including the Scotts ? She lived next to Church of Christ on Botabano Road in West Bay.

    Poor old lady was fired from her job after all those years because she did not meet the “specific criteria” that Mrs Scott desired.

    How many men from Public Works who worked around the governors residence in boiling hot sun and was reported to the police for theft, after trying to get a gallon to drinking water from the tap on the side of the building ?

    Oh, and let’s not forget the mangoes she counted every morning and if one was found missing, a big police investigation for the Theft of a mango became the news of the day.

    Did I mention a certain woman police Inspector whom she wanted arrested for killing her poodle who ran across the road without a leash, having been hit by the officer’s car on her way to work? The only thing that saved W.P. was that the dog was not licensed at the Agriculture Dept.

    Scott himself was not a bad governor (although a playboy) but the wife was unbearable for anyone who knew her back in the day. It’s no wonder poor Scotty sought comfort on the outside.

    Just ask any police officer from back in those days and they will confirm this and even more.

    • Anonymous says:

      11.17 Did you forget the smelly issue of the horse on the beach, and the dog wearing a bow tie. Now about the mangoes, are there mango trees on the property? I do remember a similar story about almonds. We found it hard to believe that anyone would be accused of stealing almonds from under a tree. That’s all beside the point. The point is Scott was a good governor – the last of his kind. Thank you Mr Scott for releasing your letter.

    • Anonymous says:

      11:17, I agree entirely with your comments on Mrs Scott. I knew the Scotts slightly and disliked her intensely for the sort of reasons you give. But I quite liked Governor Scott. Contrary to other comments here, I found that he liked and admired “ordinary Caymanians”, ie the man/woman in the street. But he deeply disliked and had contempt for three Caymanians: Jim Bodden -for his anti Britishness, and his running of Cayman as if he owned it; McKeeva Bush for his “boorish rudeness” (Scott’s words) and a certain very troubled anti UK/anti his own Caymanian senior civil servants/anti everyone except a tiny select few, senior civil servant who was eventually retired early some years later.

      It is true Scott left under a cloud, having fathered a son (I think, not a daughter) by a local woman. But he behaved honourably, setting up a trust fund for that child. Of course, our own MLAs would never get into that sort of behaviour, would they, but if they did, one hopes they would behave in a similarly honourable way in accepting their responsibilities.

      • Anonymous says:

        1:54, I am almost certain you are referring to the civil servant who referred to Governor Scott contemptuously to all and sundry all the time as Snow White (the beard and the fact he was a white man) and who in later years mocked Governor Gore’s efforts to protect the booby birds by sending out an official government Xmas card in which he, a very senior civil servant, was dressed as a booby bird, daring the authorities to deal with him which, thankfully, they did.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you Governor Scott. You had the vision to predict what our management would be like under the diplomats and you were so very right. Things went downhill after you left especially for the civil service. Some of the diplomats saw the service as their enemy, and failed to recognize they could achieve nothing without them. Then again some didn’t want to achieve anything for Cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      True, I remember it all.

  4. Knot S Smart says:

    Didnt we have a Governor sometimes back that caused a bit of furor over his breeding of a local married woman?

    • Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. says:

      So what? That’s personal stuff, nothing to do with professional job performance, except for some dinosaurs!

      • Anonymous says:

        By your standards Hitler’s job performance would negate any criticism of his other activities.

        • Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. says:

          One of my standards is to leave peoples private lives alone. I am utterly amazed that what should be an interesting political debate has become a big discussion of his private life and his wife. Amazing!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Oh please! Nobody was more patronizing to us than Scotty!

  6. Anonymous says:

    @ 12:53

    This is the same person that will be quick to berate Cayman for what they perceive as its shortcomings regarding; education, ridiculously high rates of incarceration (e.g. why did the UK not insist an overhaul of our marijuana laws to something more in-line with their own decades ago in the name of “good governance”? Relax, that was a rhetorical question.), subsequent broken homes, resulting rise in unemployment, and an ever growing government-dependent segment of society.

    Oh, let me guess; history and (ultimate) government is completely irrelevant to present day when it comes to certain groups of people – in the minds of other people.
    Yep, they are simply perpetual and destined eff-ups – but let’s still leave our homeland and relocate to their inherently flawed island-nation for a better life.

    Fast forward to 2016; instead of pressurising our pastors to violate their personal faith and moral code to marry two people of the same sex, why not use those ultimate powers to save the youths, and thus future, of this country and force a decriminalisation of marijuana consumption in the Cayman Islands?

    I highly doubt the reality of Fred and Tom rubbing up together in their bedroom will have anywhere near an impact on the security and safeguard of this society as will the imprisonment of 18 year old Mikey for the great crime of smoking a spliff.

    This is but one example of how the ex-governor’s observations from 24 years ago are still relevant.

  7. Anonymous says:

    For goodness sake….24 years ago. How is that relevant now?

  8. Chris Pope says:

    Scott was one of the best ever Governors. Humble and respectful. His wife compassionate and caring.

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you kidding. ? He brought shame to his office and this country….perhaps I have missed your sarcasm.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes I recall his “compassionate” wife riding her horse along 7 mile beach and shouting at the locals to get out of her way.
      We also know how “caring” Scott was when asked for help by a local woman.
      They were both arrogant and self serving is the real truth.

      • Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. says:

        Amusingly, I was led to believe the horse riding, and crapping on the beach, stopped after a certain person zapped the horse on the nuts with a well aimed slingshot pellet! Pure comedy.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Thank you, Gov. Scott.
    When we lowly colonials raise these issues we are labelled as troublesome, entitled, racist and living with chips on shoulders.

    Very refreshing to see a decent and principled individual come out of the FCO.
    However, as with everything else, the exception doesn’t break the rule.

    – Who

  10. Anonymous says:

    Looking forward to a couple of decades when we can FOI Gov’s Jack’s and Dindwitty final wires to head office.

    • Anonymous says:

      At least they kept it in their trousers.

      • Anonymous says:

        18/08, 7:29 pm: I someone don’t think that was a challenge for Dinwiddy, poor soul.

        I was closely associated with Scott during his governorship. An enormously talented man who was a good administrator.

        Unfortunately, the couple seemed to attract a lot of unnecessary conflict. For example, at one point they wanted to prohibit people from sitting on the beach at the back of government house. That was just poking the bear, and a few people just made it their business to use that beach just to prove they could, There was not a thing they could do about it and eventually had to give up, as everyone knows up to the high water mark is public property.


        But I digress. If I had to sum him up: I thought he was competent, but way too caught up in ferreting out secrets and passing judgments on people. Funny how his own secret life was his undoing from what up ’til then was essentially a charmed life.

        • Anonymous says:

          It’s a pity, 7:11, you felt you had to begin an otherwise sensible comment with an adolescent snide remark about Governor Dinwiddy.

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