Overseas Territories Accuse UK Of Colonialism

May 4, 2018

The United Kingdom is being accused of colonialism by some of the Overseas Territories, with the islands’ leaders calling it a return to “base colonialism,” an “affront,” an “unacceptable act of modern colonialism,” and an action that would “overturn democracy in the relevant territory.”

These comments follow after a Bill passed in the UK House of Commons that contains an amendment which would allow the UK to order Overseas Territories to make their beneficial ownership registers publicly accessible.

A beneficial ownership register is a database of information on business owners, and while most nations worldwide do not make theirs public, the UK does, with their register going public in 2016, becoming the first nation in the world to do so.

Gibraltar, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands and Cayman have all made similar statements in recent days, with the islands’ general position being they maintain registers, provide information to official entities at request and will make the registers public when it becomes world standard, which it currently is not.

According to the official UK Parliament website, “The Bill was considered at Report Stage and Third Reading on Tuesday 1 May 2018 and passed with amendments.

“The Bill has passed all its Commons stages and will now be returned to the House of Lords, a stage known as ping pong. During ping pong, the Bill travels back and forth between the two Houses, until both Houses agree on the text of the Bill.”

If the Bill passes through the full UK Parliament, it seeks to use the UK’s power of an Order in Council to make Overseas Territories introduce public ownership registers by 2020.


Premier David Burt said, “The action taken in the UK Parliament signals a significant backwards step in the relations between the United Kingdom and the Overseas Territories.

“In the case of Bermuda, it is ironic that in the very year we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of our Constitution, Bermuda is confronted with this regrettable ‘about face’ which fails to acknowledge this long history of full internal self-government.

“The Government of Bermuda has a strong constitutional position and the people of Bermuda can rest assured that we will take the necessary steps to ensure our Constitution is respected.

“This attempt to legislate for Bermuda from London is a return to base colonialism and is an action that has no place in 2018. It is especially telling that the Crown Dependencies are not included in this amendment which is restricted to the Caribbean OTs and Bermuda.

“Bermuda sets the standard in this area and our reputation for sound regulation is well established, internationally recognized and will be vigorously defended.”

Speaking during a Bloomberg interview yesterday, Premier Burt said, “Bermuda for 50 years has had full internal self-government, and Bermuda does not accept the United Kingdom’s attempt to legislate for us.

“The era of colonialism ended quite a while ago; Bermuda sets its own laws and the only time that we’ll have a public register of beneficial ownership is when the Bermuda Parliament decides to do so.”

The Premier is expected to address the matter in Parliament today.

Cayman Islands

Cayman Premier Alden McLaughlin said, “Imposition of legislation, through powers that date back to the colonial era, over and above the wishes of the democratically elected legislative bodies of the Overseas Territories represents a gross affront to the constitutional relationship we currently have with the United Kingdom.

“Since 2013 I have been completely clear that, when public registers become a global standard, the Cayman Islands will adopt them. The actions in the House of Commons today seeks to impose the UK’s own flawed system of unverified public registers upon the Overseas Territories by the end of 2020.”

“The Cayman Islands has its own democratically elected government and is not represented in the UK Parliament. The actions of the House of Commons in seeking to legislate for the Cayman Islands amount to constitutional overreach and are reminiscent of the worst injustices of a bygone era of colonial despotism.”

Cayman is reportedly retaining legal advisers to challenge the threat of an order in council by the UK, with the Cayman Premier saying, “The issue goes way beyond public registers and it is an issue that we are going to challenge. We don’t want to wind up in a situation where every time the UK Parliament disagrees with a decision in one of the territories, it has the power to legislate for us.”

British Virgin Islands

Joining his counterparts in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, Premier of the British Virgin Islands Orlando Smith has expressed concerns about the UK’s Bill, saying he rejects the “idea that our democratically elected Government should be superseded by the UK Parliament.”

Premier Smith said, “This is a deeply flawed policy as the BVI already provides verified beneficial ownership information to the United Kingdom and other law enforcement authorities.

“The Government will continue to make clear that should public registers become the global standard, then BVI will comply.”


“To legislate directly for an Overseas Territory would amount to an unacceptable act of modern colonialism,” Gibraltar’s Chief Minister said, adding that it would “overturn democracy in the relevant territory.”

In a letter sent to British MPs, the Chief Minister of Gibraltar Fabian Picardo said that Gibraltar is already “independently committed to the establishment of a public register of ultimate beneficial ownership when an international standard on this subject is agreed.”

“To legislate directly for an Overseas Territory would amount to an unacceptable act of modern colonialism which would in effect overturn democracy in the relevant territory,” Mr Picardo added.

“I cannot emphasise enough to you how unacceptable this is,” he said, adding it would be “more than retrograde.”

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Comments (16)

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  1. swing voter says:

    why grubble…they don’t want the fudicial responsibilty of debt service. They don’t want another Turks and Caicos mess to clean up. They certainly don’t want to see a steady increase in islanders immigrating to the mother country. just start the independance conversation again and get it over with.

    • nerema says:

      “They certainly don’t want to see a steady increase in islanders immigrating to the mother country”
      Another myth. Bermudians have a right to British passports easily. There is nothing stopping any one of us living, working, or studying there.

      • Joe Bloggs says:

        Now. Wait and see what happens in the future.

      • Onion Juice says:

        When we were enslaved and making them rich we were valuable, now they want to treat us like $#!+.
        Typical Colonial Bull $#!+.

  2. The colonial U’K has always been biased.
    Even when Marc Bean,et al., departed Bermuda to the U.K., concerning the atrocities which oba was putting in place for whites, ostracizing Blacks, the U.K.government is doing what it does BEST.
    Yes, Burt, sue their colonial breeches off. Too much of them.
    Hey!! Independence would be great for all British supporting countries. There are 5 such places left, Bermuda included!!
    Let us plot our own destiny without the direct interference of a governor or a British representative ruling Bermuda!!

    • The real Terry says:

      STRAIGHTFORWARD, again I say as you are the only person to make derogatory and negative comments about Flora, whatever you say has no credibility whatsoever.

    • nerema says:

      Independence would rob our Bermudian students of the opportunity to affordably go to the UK to study. You would be taking away their chance of a future.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      If I ask for a few examples of these atrocities that you’re speaking of will you ever reply ?

    • The real Terry says:

      STRAIGHTFORWARD under your warped and uninformed thinking success stories like Mr. Anthony Swan would not happen but what would you care you showed the big bad Brits who is boss.

  3. sandgrownan says:

    “…concerning the atrocities which oba was putting in place for whites, ostracizing Blacks,…”

    Really? The UK are wrong on their approach, but the end game is correct and ultimately we will have to do it one way or the other to remain relevant.

    So, lose the faux indignation (Christ, you love to be offended) and come up with a sensible, coherent response.

    The danger for Bermuda is not the UK, but rather the Burts/DREB’s and the rest of the chest thumping idiots who see this as a political opportunity to be exploited.

  4. Silence Do Good says:

    God save the queen, the fascist regime

  5. Blackjack says:

    Ironic coming from a country whose empire was financed first by the slave trade and later by the opium trade. No register of the latter day beneficiaries of these legacies.

    • sandgrownan says:

      Er no…you got that the wrong way round Sparky. But you are right, it was a commercial “empire”….

  6. facts of the rock says:

    Burt and the plp or any other Bermuda Government of the day have NO option but to do exactly as HM Government tells them,failing which the Bermuda Government would be disbanded and people could face arrest and be shipped to the UK for Trial,FACT!
    It is highly unlikely to happen but it could.
    Should anyone decide to disobey the British Army would take over and Martial Law established
    It would be a terrible mistake to believe that this could not happen,the UK Government has the final say.
    Look what happened down south in the TCI.

  7. Alan says:

    Sandy, I think Blackjack is right:

    18th Century – Slaves to the Caribbean to create the mercantile Sugar Empire which duly created capital and funded growth in the UK significant speeding up mass migration to cities, population growth, industrial revolution, etc.

    19th Century – Steal tea plants from the Chinese to grow them in India and Ceylon, stuff China full of Opium and force them to pay you in silver and gold or be humiliated in war, kill off all dissenters in India and declare Victoria Empress, use profits from criminal oppression of both to fund global empire.

    20th Century – feign self-righteous indignation every time this legacy gets questioned and pretend you are descended from Gentlemen.

  8. cpm says:

    Go independent
    Take back your gang members and criminals you are happy to send to the uk
    Also take back all the dole claimers living on social security
    I’m sure the us and canada will come to our rescue in times of need all for free
    Have you tried travelling in Europe on a Bermuda passport?