Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam, a legal eagle, will become the first female governor of the Turks and Caicos in June 2023 when her appointment takes effect. Her appointment was made public by the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office on December 15, 2022.
Selvaratnam, who was called to the bar in 1999, is the current governor of Anguilla and previously held a number of positions in the UK Ministry of Justice, giving her a lot of legal experience.
The majority of that experience relates to strategy and change.
From 2011 to 2015, she served as HM Courts and Tribunal Service’s Deputy Director of Strategy and Change, which oversees all English and Welsh courts, including the criminal and civil family courts. She then took a job as Director of Strategy and Change in The Insolvency Service at the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy. This government agency says it “helps to deliver economic confidence by supporting those in financial distress, tackling financial wrongdoing, and maximising returns to creditors.” She held that position between 2015 and 2017.
Selvaratnam will bring extensive court system experience from the UK at a time when the Turks and Caicos Islands is losing millions of dollars in lost court cases as a result of errors in all facets of the legal system.
There have been numerous court losses in 2022 for a variety of reasons, including improper treatment of detainees, improper witness introduction by crown prosecutors, conflicts of interest with police translators, and even incorrect charges against suspects.
The TCI is also working hard to get off the EU’s blacklist of tax jurisdictions that don’t comply with tax laws.
The background of the governor usually sets the tone for what the UK hopes to accomplish in an overseas territory with the appointment.
The outgoing Governor Nigel Dakin was a former military officer with extensive experience in national security. During his tenure, he has overseen the formation of the first ever Regiment, and the TCI has accomplished a milestone by having several islanders trained at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
Under Dakin’s stewardship, the framework of a Coast Guard is being put together, and the signing of a ship-rider agreement has been completed.
Selvaratnam is of Sri Lankan heritage.