This article traces the contours of the complex, often obscure administrative and governance arrangements that have framed relationships between the Caribbean Overseas Territories of the UK in recent years. Relations between the governments of Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands (BVI), Caymans, Montserrat, and Turks and Caicos and the UK government in London have not always been smooth. From the 1970s onwards, it was assumed in Whitehall and Westminster that these territories would become independent. This absent-minded assumption reinforced a set of fragmented, and remarkably personalised, ad hoc governance arrangements, at least to the late 1990s. Little sense of post-colonial purpose or shared vision animated relations between Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) and UK governments. The 'bias for independence' has faded, however, as opposition to sovereignty being imposed was finally acknowledged by the New Labour government's White Paper of 1999. In 2009, the UK government even imposed direct rule on the Turks and Caicos Islands, following a corruption scandal that threatened the territory's economic and political future. We reflect on lessons of the past decade or so, contrasting UK-OCT governance arrangements to those in the comparable, yet also very distinct, neighbouring Dutch and French Caribbean territories. Overall, developments in governance arrangements indicate that whilst new 'contracts' are periodically forged between the UK and its Caribbean OCTs - something that appears to be true at EU-wide level also, for the Dutch and French Caribbean territories in their relations with the 'metropolis' - reform has been insufficient and incomplete.

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ISS Staff Group 2: States, Societies and World Development , EUR-ISS-GGSJ
Commonwealth and Comparative Politics
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Hintjens, H.M, & Hodge, D. (2012). The UK Caribbean Overseas Territories: Governing unruliness amidst the extra-territorial EU. Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, 50(2), 190–225. doi:10.1080/14662043.2012.671604