Report: Former Resident Picked As Ambassador

October 4, 2018

Former Bermuda resident Lana Marks — who along with her husband was charged with an immigration offence in Bermuda back in the 1980s – has reportedly been chosen by United States President Donald Trump to serve as that country’s ambassador to South Africa.

A story in the Guardian said, “Marks was born in the coastal city of East London and educated locally. A biography on the designer’s website makes no mention of her South African origins, and describes her studying ballet with the Royal Ballet.

“In an interview with South African newspaper Business Day, Marks said this had been with the Royal Ballet’s local affiliate in her home town.

“After spending time in Bermuda, she settled in Palm Beach in 1987, where she founded her luxury handbag business.”

South Africa’s Business Day reported, “In 1976 she married Neville Marks, a British psychiatrist who was working at Cape Town’s Groote Schuur Hospital. The marriage cut short her commerce degree studies at Wits and they left SA. After a stay on an island she is not keen to name — ‘just one of the islands where he helped in a medical capacity’ — they settled in Palm Beach, Florida, in 1987.”

Calling Bermuda an “Atlantic haven for the wealthy,” Business Day notes it “was the island she does not mention and was home to Lana and Neville from 1976 until 1985. He had worked there in private practice since the early 1970s and returned there with his newly wed wife.

“The Marks’ stay on that island turns out to have been controversial. The couple were convicted of breaking Bermudian immigration laws in June 1982, for hiring a South African nanny illegally, but the conviction was overturned on appeal the following year,” the report said.

Randolph Williams’ book “Lois: Bermuda’s Grande Dame of Politics” provides details on the case, as they couple was represented by the late Dame Lois Browne Evans at one stage.

“Well known for taking on controversial, challenging cases,” Mr Williams wrote in the book, “Lois decided to accept the case of British physician Dr. Neville Marks and his South African wife. Both were charged with various immigration offences.”

“The Marks case involved the allegedly illegal immigration of a coloured South African woman [not black - the terms have important differences of meaning in South Africa] who was brought to Bermuda to be a nanny/ housekeeper. ”

“The allegation was that the Marks had broken the Immigration Law by bringing in a non-Bermudian nanny to work without the relevant documentation, and had fraudulently signed her immigration papers.”

According to Mr Williams’ book, Dr. Marks and his wife were initially found guilty, received a conditional discharge, but were later cleared on appeal.

“Subsequent to the trial, Dr. Marks applied to have his work permit renewed but the application was rejected,” the book notes.

The U.S President drew ire from many in South Africa in August of this year when he tweeted, “I have asked Secretary of State @SecPompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers. South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers.”

One of those who responded was the official account of the South African Government, which tweeted back, “South Africa totally rejects this narrow perception which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past.”

Ms Marks appointment as Ambassador has not been officially announced by the U.S. Government as of this time.

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Comments (7)

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  1. sage says:

    Swamp People.

  2. But yet Agent Orange dont mention about South Africa being captured by Europeans and Thousands of them being murdered through Apartheid.

  3. Woody says:

    Good for them. They were victims of a vile anti-semitism during their sojourn here. We should all be happy for their success.

  4. islandgal says:

    Mrs. Marks treated her Nanny Lucy, well, less than well. Maybe that’s why she didn’t want to mention Bermuda. It probably all comes back to haunt her with the mere utterance of Bermuda. Now an African Ambassador?