Baroness Scotland Receives CARICOM backing on re-election

Baroness Scotland and Prime Minister Gaston Browne
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By Shermain Bique-Charles

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Baroness Patricia Scotland is seeking a second term as Commonwealth Secretary General, and she is receiving the backing of Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister and the rest of CARICOM.

In his letter, Prime Minister Browne reiterated the 15-member CARICOM grouping’s support for Scotland’s bid for another term in office.

The latest news is significant, especially since Gaston Browne had said late last year, that the Commonwealth risks being divided over the re-election of Scotland.

Browne, who was also then serving as CARICOM chairman, said that it now appears that the separate regions of Africa, Asia and the Pacific “have been, or are being, encouraged to present candidates in opposition to the current secretary general.

“This runs counter to the principle of rotation which would see Africa assuming the office of secretary general in 2024 when the Caribbean term would normally come to an end, followed in turn by the Pacific,” Browne said,

Meanwhile other CARICOM leaders have pledged their support for Scotland.

According to the communique issued at the end of their Inter-Sessional Summit on Wednesday night, the regional leaders “expressed their overwhelming support for the re-election of Baroness Patricia Scotland as Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.”

The Dominican-born Scotland was elected to the post at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta in 2015 and her re-election is scheduled for June this year, when the Commonwealth leaders meet in Kigali, Rwanda.

Scotland is the second Secretary-General from the Caribbean and the first woman to hold the post.

The 54 heads of government had expected to decide Scotland’s future at their biennial summit in Rwanda in June last year, but the meeting was postponed because of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Scotland said she is pleased that the summit will now be held in June this year.

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