Depopulation of the Chagos Archipelago – Emails and responses

From: John <john.colclough@armadillo-intel.com>
Date: 10 July 2016 at 11:44:29 am BST
To: <james@jamesduddridge.com>
Subject: Chagos community

Dear James

Despite the recent split decision by the Supreme Court on the case, can you confirm whether you have been out to visit the Chagos Archipelago and in particular, Diego Garcia.

You related to the Commons committee “I take my responsibilities as Minister very seriously on this matter, which is why I am allocating a lot of time to it. I have read every single word of the KPMG report. I will do so again on what I understand will be a very long journey out to the islands. If time allows and I am able to, I will try to get to the outer islands; that is an important element so that I can look at all the options before taking recommendations to more senior Ministers and before the Government come to a decision. In conclusion, it is an important issue, and I sincerely thank the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross and everyone here for their time.”

I believe, as do many others, that the Supreme Court ruling is one thing, how the government and its ministers behave, another. Is the government now going to take into account the earlier Posford Haskoning re-settlement study as well as the KCMG study?

There is also another study called the Bennett Report which was completed independently.  It covers, in quite a lot of detail, the likely costs of re-settlement.

Thank you for your kind attention,

JOHN COLCLOUGH

===================================================

Overseas Territories Directorate

Foreign & Commonwealth Office

King Charles Street

 London SW1A 2AH

 www.fco.gov.uk

Our ref: MOP/99383-16

2 August 2016

Dear Mr Colclough

Thank you for your email of 10 July to Mr Duddridge about the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). As a member of the Overseas Territories Directorate, I have been asked to reply.

I can confirm that Mr Duddridge did indeed visit BIOT in November 2015, taking in Diego Garcia as well as the Outer Islands.

The government recognises the strength of feeling on the issue of resettlement of the Chagossian people and commissioned an independent feasibility study from consultants KPMG LLP to assess the practical costs and risks of different resettlement options including Diego Garcia. The previous feasibility study (2000-2002) was delivered by independent consultants and we have no reason to doubt that study’s findings, which KPMG have taken into account alongside other relevant information. The two reports did have differences – for example, the former did not include Diego Garcia. There was a clear commitment to ensuring the new feasibility study was as inclusive, objective and transparent as possible. Views were actively sought from Chagossians and other interested parties and the study’s draft report shared for comments before being finalised. KPMG’s feasibility study has now concluded and the full report can be accessed at the following website:

http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2015-02-10/HCWS272/.

The study found that there were widely differing indications of the likely demand from Chagossians for resettlement. We also know from the conclusions of the study that, while resettlement could be practically feasible, resettling a civilian population permanently would involve significant challenges, including uncertain and potentially substantial costs and ongoing liabilities for the British taxpayer.

Consequently further work is now taking place to try to understand these fundamental uncertainties, to enable a Ministerial decision on the way ahead in due course.

In your last point, you refer to the Bennett Report. I am not familiar with this report, unless, perhaps, it has another name by which it is referred to.

 

Yours sincerely

Zoë Townsley

Overseas Territories Directorate

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