Bermuda: First black woman to be appointed governor


Jonathan Bell and Fiona McWhirter (The Royal Gazette) reports that Bermuda will have the first woman and first black governor later this year: Rena Lalgie.

Bermuda’s first woman and first black governor will take over the job later this year, the British Government revealed yesterday. Rena Lalgie, the director of the UK’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation at the Treasury, will succeed John Rankin in December.

The mother of two said she was “immensely proud” to become the first woman governor. She added: “I am conscious that this announcement is being made in challenging times, as Bermuda looks to the future, I will work in earnest with the elected government, through the exercise of my duties, to support and promote the island’s strengths and resilience. My family and I are looking forward to contributing fully to life in Bermuda as we get to know the people and culture.”

Ms Lalgie has also worked in the British Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, including a stint as the deputy director for the information economy and cybersecurity. She was also head of the counterterrorism and security review at the Treasury from 2007 to 2008.

Mr Rankin told The Royal Gazette: “I am delighted at Ms Lalgie’s appointment as my successor as governor. “I know that she is looking forward to the job and I wish her every success in it.”

The news sparked calls for Britain — and Bermuda — to move the country farther down the road to self-determination.

Maxwell Burgess, a former MP, minister and senator for the disbanded United Bermuda Party who later joined the PLP, said Britain should also appoint a Bermudian deputy governor to help lead the island.

Mr Burgess, a former UBP transport minister and sports, youth and recreation minister, said he had asked for a black governor as an Opposition senator more than 20 years ago — and that a Bermudian deputy to the Queen’s representative on the island could be appointed. Mr Burgess added he had told the Upper House in 1999 that, as a majority black country, it was “not unreasonable to ask that we have a black governor, and the British ought to use their best endeavours to do so”.

[. . .] He said Ms Lalgie’s appointment was “serendipitous” after a Black Lives Matter demonstration that brought 7,000 people out to march last Sunday.

[. . .] Dale Butler, an historian and former PLP culture minister, also welcomed the appointment. Mr Butler said: “I salute the fact that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is doing things differently for a change. “She happens to be black and happens to be a woman, but I salute the decision based on her level of competence and experience. I don’t want a black person just because they are black.” [. . .]

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