Development & Alumni Relations Office 

Michael Bradley, who has died aged 76, had remarkable success in cleaning up what has been described as "one of HMG's Caribbean basket cases" when he was appointed governor of the Turks and Caicos in 1987.

The colony (motto: "Beautiful by Nature, Clean by Choice") has enjoyed a chequered history since its two sets of islands, noted for piracy, were annexed by Britain in 1799; following the election in 1976 of a charismatic chief minister called "Jags" McCartney (subsequently killed in a plane crash), democracy proved an uncertain blessing.

A report by Louis Blom-Cooper, QC, on widespread political corruption, property fraud and drug dealing led to the deportation of the Attorney General, and Bradley being appointed governor in 1986. He was no routine diplomat, trained to reach compromises, but an experienced colonial law officer instinctively more concerned with serving his people than meeting Foreign and Commonwealth Office demands.

Within a year Bradley, who travelled in an ancient London taxi which was always breaking down, had overseen the restoration of limited responsible government while retaining the right to veto a minister if he believed it necessary. In 1990 he was appointed CMG and invited to stay on as governor for a further three years.

Even when he returned on holiday more than a decade later, he was bemused by the way he was cheerfully hailed as "Governor Bradley", as if he had never left. But his firmness was not emulated by all his successors, and the islands have been back under direct gubernatorial rule for the past year.

Michael John Bradley was born on June 11th 1933 in Belfast, and educated at St Malachy's College. At Queen's University he gave so much time to debating and party-going, at the expense of his studies, that he was sent down. But he settled down after meeting his wife, Patricia Macauley, and completed his legal studies at London University and Trinity College, Dublin.

He practised briefly as a solicitor in Belfast before embarking in 1967 on his colonial career as a State Counsel in Malawi, and then as chief parliamentary draftsman in Botswana. After coming home, he worked on Halsbury's Laws of England, then, in the early 1970s, joined the United Nations as a legal adviser to the Antiguan government before becoming a legal draftsman to governments in the Eastern Caribbean.

He was Attorney General of the British Virgin Islands from 1977 to 1978, of the Turks and Caicos in 1980 and of Montserrat the following year. In 1982 he was appointed Attorney General of the Cayman Islands, where he played a central role in their dramatic economic development and was appointed QC.

On retiring from the colonial service at 60, Bradley returned to the Caymans, where he was a law revision commissioner from 1994 to 2009. Modern communications enabled him also to aid the FCO in negotiating new constitutions for Gibraltar, the Virgin Islands and the Falklands, as well as St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. Last year he found himself offering advice on the renewed suspension of representative government in the Turks and Caicos.

Michael Bradley, who died on February 22, is survived by his wife Patricia, an ornithologist, and their son Michael, a barrister.                                               

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