Home Headline A&B gov’t elated by Baroness Scotland’s reelection as Commonwealth Sec Gen

A&B gov’t elated by Baroness Scotland’s reelection as Commonwealth Sec Gen

Prime Minister Gaston Browne had been a staunch supporter of Dominica-born Baroness Patricia Scotland

By Elesha George

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Chief of Staff in the Prime Minister’s Office, Lionel ‘Max’ Hurst, says the re-election of Dominica-born Baroness Patricia Scotland as Secretary General of the Commonwealth demonstrates the solidarity of small island states.

“The government of Antigua and Barbuda is very pleased that Baroness Scotland was reelected to the post of Secretary General of the Commonwealth.

“It is a clear indication that the vast majority of the states in the Commonwealth believed that she has done okay and that her tenure has yielded, especially for very small states, exactly as we asked her to do,” he told Observer.

Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Kamina Johnson-Smith was also a contender in the election, despite resistance from some smaller island Commonwealth members.

She cemented her position as a strong candidate with endorsements from countries including India, the United Kingdom, Trinidad, Belize and her home country, Jamaica.  

According to Hurst, the smaller islands tried to dissuade the government of Jamaica from offering a second candidate, which goes against the traditional decorum of the body that he claims prefers a representative from a small state over one from a larger state.

He said the government is looking forward to working closely with Scotland to “develop a number of areas” that it believes are important to small island developing states, such as climate change mitigation and disaster risk adaptation.

Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne also congratulated the Baroness on her victory, describing it as a “welcomed outcome” in a Facebook post.

For his part, Prime Minister Andrew Holness conceded defeat, saying in a public statement that “it was a good contest and the Baroness prevailed”.

“Admittedly, several members of the Cabinet of Jamaica have mixed feelings and are relieved that Senator Johnson-Smith remains Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade,” Holness wrote.

“Jamaica continues to believe in the Commonwealth, its diversity and its potential to deliver for its people,” he added.

Speaking after her reappointment, Baroness Scotland said that she would continue to serve the body as a family of nations, describing it as a true honour and a privilege.

According to the Baroness, “To seek high office is a profound act of service and I want to commend my colleagues who also sought to serve. The Commonwealth is richer for the breadth and depth of talented leaders who dedicate themselves to our family of nations.”

The vote took place at the Commonwealth heads of government meeting 2022 in Kigali, Rwanda, where leaders yesterday reappointed Scotland for a further two years to complete the balance of her period in office.

The Secretary General first took office in 2016 with her initial term extended due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Having already served six years she will now serve for an additional two.



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