Antigua and Barbuda can be counted among the Commonwealth nations that are supporting the call for Secretary General Baroness Patricia Scotland to receive a second automatic term in office.
“We are supporting her at this time,” said the Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister, Lionel Hurst.
“We continue to lend her our support, her father being from Antigua and Barbuda, and she has been helpful to small Caribbean island countries during the time that she has been the head of the Commonwealth.”
According to reports, a recent letter written by Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson – who is the current “chair-in-office” for the Commonwealth – said that “a significant and diverse number of colleagues from across the Commonwealth” have communicated that they do not support the proposal for Baroness Scotland’s immediate reappointment as the secretary-general for a second four-year term.
He noted that they “prefer that the decision on the next substantive secretary-general appointment should be taken at Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), according to our established practice.”
This month, the 54 heads of government in the Commonwealth nations were expected to decide Scotland’s future at their big biennial summit in Rwanda, but that meeting was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The proposal for automatic reappointment had been made because of the uncertainty that the virus created.
Hurst explained that no actual ballots have been cast.
“Now there has not actually been a vote conducted by the Commonwealth. What there has been is a kind of a round-robin and, as a consequence, we see how the support is lining up,” he revealed.
And according to Hurst, “no other candidate has been announced as of this date hence there can’t be the kind of competitive election which she faced when she first became the Secretary General.”
But since Scotland’s current contract expires on June 27, Commonwealth governments have until June 22 to make a decision.
This is the second time that Commonwealth heads of government have rejected the automatic reappointment of Baroness Scotland.
Last year, the proposal had been rejected by twice as many countries.