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Peter Beckingham

Former governor in Turks and Caicos Islands

Part of UK in Grand Turk

17th December 2014


In early December the Premier the Hon Dr Rufus Ewing and I represented the Turks and Caicos Islands at the UK Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council. This has now become firmly established as one of the key building blocks of relations among the Territories and with the UK Government.

This year’s three  day-meeting was no exception, with attendees including Premiers or elected representatives of all the 12 inhabited Territories (Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St Helena, Tristan da Cunha and TCI). The meeting provided an opportunity to take stock of the relationships, to celebrate past successes and map out a programme of joint activity for the year ahead.

The event was also an important opportunity for Territory leaders to engage directly with representatives from across the British Government, including the Foreign Secretary, the new Foreign Office Minister responsible for the Territories (James Duddridge MP),  as well as Ministers from the Treasury, the Department for International Development, the Ministry of Defence and the Department of the Environment.

The Premier and I were able,  in joint and individual meetings,  to underline the interests of the Turks and Caicos. With Foreign Minister Duddridge the Premier stressed the importance of the UK continuing to provide a security umbrella against illegal migration, fishing and drug trafficking, and we discussed the possibilities of the Royal Navy providing some additional support. The Premier, with the International Development Minister, Desmond Swayne, went through the measures the Government had in place to return TCI to the commercial bond markets by 2016. Both Ministers were optimistic that we should be in a strong position, given the robust tourism figures we have, of persuading the banks of TCI’s continuing and long term credit worthiness.

As well as official meetings, the Premier and I also had the opportunity to meet a range of investors, tourism operators, and TCI residents both in London, and on the way back, in New York. These occasions were a great chance to underline to key business leaders the strong brand TCI now represents to the North  American and, increasingly, European markets.

One of the most rewarding and encouraging moments was in New York, when the owner of one of the city’s most successful island tour operators, without any  prompting,  joined the Premier and me in extolling TCI as one of the most popular and respected prestigious  Caribbean islands.

Many people in TCI have worked hard and patiently for years to achieve that sort of accolade. Congratulations to all of them. It is the task of all of us, from the police and immigration officers who are the first to greet arrivals, to the barmen, taxi drivers  and tour operators who engage with our visitors throughout their stay, to ensure that high reputation remains.JMC

About Peter Beckingham

Peter was the Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands from 2013 to 2016. Before this, he was British Deputy High Commissioner to India, based in Mumbai, the commercial capital,…

Peter was the Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands from
2013 to 2016. Before this, he was British Deputy High Commissioner to India, based in Mumbai, the commercial capital, where he had a responsibility for developing UK-India trade and investment. His earlier appointments have
included Consul-General and Director-General of Trade and Investment in
Sydney, and British Ambassador to the Philippines, where he initiated
the UK Government’s involvement in a peace process with the Philippine
Government and Muslim rebel groups.
Peter is married to Jill, a teacher of special needs, and they have
two grown up children. His outside interests include cricket, golf and