One OECS Candidate to Contest Upcoming Commonwealth Secretary General Elections
OECS Chairman, Dr. Keith Mitchell says the leaders of Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda will meet to decide on the final candidate.
Dominica-born and former UK Attorney General, Baroness Patricia Scotland and Antiguan Diplomat, Ronald Sanders have been put forward by their countries for the position.
Dr. Mitchell said, “One thing we came to terms with was that the Caribbean leaders would leave the Caribbean for the Commonwealth Meeting next week but [with] one candidate. We’re not going to the commonwealth with two candidates. The decision would be made before we leave which candidate we’re going forward with…The two countries are going to be discussing and they’ll let us know.”
” When we leave here, we will have one candidate and whoever that candidate is Grenada will be supporting…there is a good possibility that one of our citizens in the region can emerge as Secretary General, and it was my feeling that we can in fact increase that possibility if we send a message that we unify our efforts around one candidate.”
However, he made clear Grenada’ position on the matter stating that,”Grenada’s position has been well known for months; we have declared our support for Ronald Sanders a long time ago.”
As debate intensifies on the region reaching a consensus on one nominee for the post of Commonwealth Secretary General, Dominica has made it clear it is not withdrawing its nomination of Baroness Patricia Scotland.
Foreign Affairs Minister, Francine Baron affirmed Dominica’s stance on the matter at a conference of the 62nd Meeting of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Authority on Thursday.
“The OECS heads met at this meeting and they decided that in relation to the post of secretary general there should be a discussion between Antigua and Dominica who both have candidates for the position and to see whether there can be some agreement moving forward. But that does not mean that Dominica has agreed to withdraw its candidate. It simply means that there will be a discussion. It could very well be that Antigua decides to withdraw its candidate and so one should not preclude or seek to prejudge what the discussions may review.”
At the last CARICOM Heads of Government conference held in Antigua in July 2014, it was agreed that CARICOM would put forward one candidate for the position of Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.
Baroness Patricia Scotland is Dominica’s nominee for Commonwealth Secretary-General.
The Right Honourable Baroness Scotland of Asthal is a British barrister, and served in many ministerial positions within the UK Government, most notably as the Attorney-G for England and Wales and Advocate-General for Northern Ireland. She made history in 1991 when she became the first black women to be appointed a Queen’s Counsel.
The nation’s leader is confident that her qualifications will serve the Commonwealth well in regional and international affairs.
The Commonwealth Secretary-General is elected to a maximum of two four-year terms and the incumbent, Kamalesh Sharma of India, is due to demit office in April 2016 on the expiration of his second term.
Sharma’s successor is due to be elected at the next Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Malta in November 2015.