FRIDAY, MAY 18: Bermuda’s new Governor George Fergusson said yesterday he did not expect to find any difficulties in adapting to Bermuda’s small size and unique culture.
He added: “I really don’t expect any issues with adjustment — I was brought up in a small village in South Ayrshire in Scotland and part of my last overseas job was being Governor of Pitcairn, which is a far smaller community than almost anywhere.
“I have come to terms with living in London, but it took me a long time to get used to it. A population of 65,000 doesn’t seem small to me.”
Mr Fergusson said: “I’m very much looking forward to arriving in Bermuda. The job itself is clearly interesting and fulfilling — I have spoken to several of my predecessors. The nature of the job is interesting and I have heard so many good things about the place. It’s hard to beat.”
Mr Fergusson was badly injured in a brutal mugging while on his way to a dinner party with friends in London last month, losing the sight in his left eye.
But Mr Fergusson said: “I’m feeling fine –—it’s not an ideal preparation for coming to Bermuda. I’m still getting medical attention and I will have to come back to London briefly next month for more treatment. I have had a number of operations and I’m really feeling in good shape.”
He said he had been touched by the expressions of sympathy he had received, including those from Bermuda and from a man in New Zealand who he had never met, who enclosed a NZ$10 note “for a beer.”
Mr Fergusson said that — unusually for a Scot from Ayrshire, which is home to some of the world’s most famous golf courses - he doesn’t play.
He said: “Boating and sailing, yes. And my wife and I bicycle a lot. I also have quite an interest in history and read history a lot. I am interested in the links between Boston and Bermuda and the US generally, which are close and very long-standing.”
Mr Fergusson – a 56-year-old veteran of the Foreign Office – served as British High Commissioner to New Zealand and Samoa and as Governor of the Pitcairn Islands before being reassigned to London.
He joined the public service in 1978, working at the Northern Ireland Office at Stormont Castle in Belfast at the height of what were known as “The Troubles.”
A decade later he joined the Foreign Office as First Secretary (Political) at the British Embassy in Dublin, in the neighbouring Republic of Ireland.
He also worked in the Soviet Department in London, which became the Eastern Department of the Foreign Office following the collapse of Communist Russia, and has also held a post in South Korea.
He was appointed deputy head of the South African Department in 1996 and later that year was made head of the Republic of Ireland Department.
He spent four years as Consul-General in Boston before being seconded to the UK Cabinet Office as head of the foreign policy team.
He took up his last overseas posting in New Zealand in 2006, returning to a job in London in 2010 before being appointed as Governor of Bermuda in January.
Mr Fergusson – who has a Maori middle name – is a chief of the Ngati Raukawa tribe in Otaki, in New Zealand’s Kapiti area of North Island.
Married to Margaret, who works the UK international cultural organization, the British Council.