(CMR) Former Governor of the Cayman Islands Martyn Roper is retiring from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office today, 8 June, after almost 39 years in His Majesty's Diplomatic Service.
“I am proud to look back on a long, eventful, and fulfilling career of public service,” Mr. Roper said, announcing his departure.
Mr. Roper started in the Middle East Department in 1984. His first posting to Tehran in 1986, during the Iran/Iraq war, was cut short after 10 months due to a diplomatic crisis with Iran when both countries withdrew their Diplomats.
Mr. Roper then served for a brief period in Budapest, where he met his wife Lissie. He then moved on to Mozambique, where he served for 2 years.
The former Governor served in very dangerous territories but remained committed to his duties.
“I was posted to Kuwait in August 1990 as Vice-Consul. As Saddam Hussain invaded in August, we watched helicopters bombing the Emir's Palace from our flat. I spent 3 weeks under Iraqi occupation and was one of 6 Kuwait-based Diplomats forced to stay in Baghdad for 5 months because Saddam did not recognize our Diplomatic Immunity. I returned to Kuwait to help the evacuation of British nationals and was interviewed by a young Jeremy Bowen at the airport,” he recalled.
After a posting in Karachi, Mr. Roper shifted to international organizations (multilateral work) in his mid-career focussing on the UN, OSCE, Council of Europe and Commonwealth in London and a stint at OECD Paris (1999-2003) supporting Whitehall Departments, mainly HMT and the then DFID.
He then switched back to bilateral work with 2 fabulous postings as Deputy Head of Mission in Brazil (2007-10) and China (2015-2018) and Ambassador to Algeria in between (2010 -2014). He led the UK response to the terrorist attack at In Amenas in the Algerian desert in 2013.
“I ended my career with a highly rewarding and enjoyable tour as Governor of the Cayman Islands (2018-2023), the UK's most populated Overseas Territory. It was a great privilege to serve its wonderful community, particularly through the challenges of COVID,” Mr. Roper said.
“I have worked with some brilliant and inspiring colleagues. Thank you to everyone for some incredible memories,” he added.
After four and a half years, Mr. Roper ended his tenure in the Cayman Islands just over two months ago.