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Baroness Patricia Scotland retains her post as Commonwealth Secretary General

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Posted: Saturday, June 25, 2022. 9:42 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: In a close vote, Dominica-born Baroness Patricia Scotland will stay on as Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, defeating Jamaican Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister Kamina Johnson-Smith by 27 to 24, Barbados’ Nation News reports.

Scotland, first elected in 2015, is the second Secretary-General from the Caribbean and the first woman in the post. She intends to only stay on for a further two years to complete eight years in the post, as her term should have ended in 2020 but was extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dominica had nominated Scotland for the post, and the nomination of Johnson-Smith, supported by the United Kingdom and others, had divided the 15-member Caribbean Community regional integration grouping (CARICOM).

Belize Prime Minister, John Briceño, soon to hand over as CARICOM chairman, said that regional leaders voted for “a candidate of their choice;” he had backed Johnson-Smith for the role. In April, the Caribbean leaders had issued a statement indicating that they were still divided in their support for the two candidates – Scotland and Johnson Smith – for the position, agreeing instead to appoint a sub-committee to delve further into the matter. But CARICOM never announced a date as to when the regional sub-committee of leaders would meet with the two Caribbean candidates for the post

Johnson-Smith conceded via Twitter stating, “If I didn’t pull through, God wasn’t ready for me to leave Jamaica yet. I continue to serve and, of course, sincere congratulations to Baroness Scotland… Thanking all the countries and people who supported me in this journey.”

Scotland responded by saying: “Thank you for your gracious congratulations and I am looking forward to working with you closely in the years to come. I am sure you will achieve great things by God’s grace.”

In her speech at the opening ceremony of the summit, she said she was confident about continuing in the role. “I am determined that, when the role of Secretary General rotates to Africa two years from now, I will hand on the baton with a stronger, more effective, more powerful Commonwealth than ever before,” she said.

 

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