Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

From South Georgia Wiki

In 1985 South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands became a distinct British Overseas Territory with a Commissioner as head of the Government. It had previously been part of the Falkland Islands Dependencies.


Government structure

The South Georgia Government team is based in Stanley in the Falkland Islands at Government House and at King Edward Point on the island itself.

The Commissioner for South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands (SGSSI) has vested in him, legal, financial and administrative authority and responsibility for the governance of the Territory. His Excellency, Colin Roberts is the current Commissioner.

A Chief Executive Officer (Martin Collins) deals with policy matters and is also the Director of Fisheries.

The Executive Officer (Richard McKee) addresses tourism and expeditions and manages fishery patrols.

Environment Officer (Jennifer Lee) oversees environmental issues including biosecurity and invasive species control

A Marine Fisheries Officer (Katherine Ross) carries out day-to-day administration of the fishery.

A Financial Secretary and Attorney General hold similar appointments in the Falkland Islands' Government.

On South Georgia the Government Officers at King Edward Point are the Government's representatives and have responsibility for local administration. Their duties include those of Harbour Master, Customs and Immigration Officer and Fisheries Officer. More generally they are the Government's representative on the island. There are three Government Officers, Pat Lurcock, Simon Browning and Steve Waugh, who rotate 8-month tours, overlapping so that there are always two in post on South Georgia. A Postal Officer Hugh Marsden runs the Post Office during the busy summer season, while the Government Officers run the postal service in winter.

The Base Commander of the BAS station is appointed Magistrate, though in reality court cases are prosecuted in the Falkland Islands, where the court has jurisdiction to try cases for GSGSSI. Only fishing-related cases have been heard in the recent decades.

Laws and legislation

Major legislation, including that covering areas of international relations and the relationship between SGSSI and the UK, is published by the UK Government.

Legislation covering the running of the island and activities taking place there are usually written by the Attorney General and passed by GSGSSI in Stanley and published in the South Georgia and South Sandwich Island Gazette.

See the article on Legislation for more details.

Postal service

The Government maintains a postal service. This is headed by the Postmaster in Stanley, Falkland Islands, who is ex-officio in the same role for SGSSI. A Deputy Postmaster resides at King Edward Point in South Georgia and operates the Post Office there.

Mails, both inwards and outgoing, are routed through the Falklands, most often using the fishery protection vessel, which visits Stanley every few weeks and so maintains a fairly regular year-round service. In addition mails are carried on occasional visits by Royal Navy vessels and occasionally the Royal Airforce base in the Falklands will organise an airdrop of mails from a C130 Hercules plane as an exercise.

A Stamp Committee, based in Stanley, oversees the design of stamps and sets out policy for new issues. The stamps are popular with collectors worldwide.


The currency of the territory is the Pound Sterling, though commemorative coins are minted and have a value equivalent to sterling.

Both the Post Office and the Museum shop accept Sterling, Euros and US Dollars (notes only - no coins) as well as credit/debit cards.

Both accept Falkland Islands pounds at a one-to-one rate with Sterling.

Exchange rates are poor, as they have to exchange cash back into Sterling in the bank in Stanley, Falkland Islands. Euro and Dollar notes will only be accepted if they are clean and must have NO writing, marks etc. on them as the bank is very fussy about what it will accept.

Contact Details

Government House, Stanley

Mail: GSGSSI, Government House, Stanley, Falkland Islands, Via UK

Telephone: +500 28200

Fax: +500 28201


Government Officer, KEP

Mail: King Edward Point, South Georgia, via Falkland Islands via UK

Telephone: +870 382 359033

Fax: +870 382 359034

Inmarsat C telex: 580 492 348018

External Links

A complete and up to date list of Magistrates can be found at the World Statesmen website, as can a list of Governors of the Falkland Islands (and thus Commissioners for SGSSI).