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The St Helena report and the gap in media

Doing a Hudson Lowe: tell London, get a report, don’t act on it

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Governor Capes - with Hudson Lowe in the frame
Governor Capes – with Hudson Lowe in the frame

Governor Mark Capes has been compared with the notorious Hudson Lowe, the man who acted as Napoleon’s gaoler on St Helena.

Both governors turned to London when difficult problems arose, says the Wass Inquiry report.

But officials in London had “no control or understanding” of what was happening far away in the South Atlantic, says Sasha Wass.

The usual response, post-Napoleon: commission yet another report.

That is what happened after PC Michael Anderson complained about “local matters” on Ascension Island.

“The staff at the FCO reacted by protecting their minister from any fallout…. there was little they could do beyond calling for yet another inquiry and issuing a press release to that effect.”

But the Wass Inquiry also found that 34 reports had been issued on child abuse on Ascension and St Helena in only 14 years.

And usually, their recommendations were not acted on because new officials arrived on the island without knowing about them.

Sasha Wass has told St Helena Government it must not commission new reports without checking the ones it has already got.


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