Antigua PM objects to CARICOM Bureau choosing Commonwealth SG candidate

St. John’s, Antigua — Prime Minister Gaston Browne has declared he had no part in, and does not agree with, the decision to mandate CARICOM’s Bureau to recommend a candidate for the post of Commonwealth Secretary-General.

And he has made that position clear in a letter to Barbados’ Prime Minister Freundel Stuart who is chairman of the Bureau which was established in October 1992 to initiate proposals, update consensus, mobilize action and secure implementation of CARICOM decisions.

It was after last weekend’s Heads of Government summit in Barbados that the host prime minister indicated that the matter of the candidates for the Commonwealth post, though on the agenda, had not been discussed and was referred to the Bureau for a recommendation.

Stuart said it was important to resolve the matter as quickly as possible to avoid the appearance that the region is “hesitating and fumbling”.

However, in a July 7 letter to his Barbadian counterpart, Browne said it was “absolutely inaccurate that there was any decision by the Heads to mandate the Bureau to make recommendations”.

“Neither I nor any member of my delegation participated in any such decision. Other Heads of Government have also indicated to me that they know of no such decision,” the Antiguan leader wrote.

“In any event, my Government objects to this important matter being reviewed by the Bureau and for the Bureau to make recommendations. Therefore, I expect the Bureau to take no action whatsoever,” Browne stated in the correspondence which was copied to all Heads of Government as well as CARICOM’s Secretary General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque.

Browne insisted that CARICOM leaders had ample time to consider the matter but had been unable to do so “because of obfuscation by a few”.

Antigua is supporting former diplomat Sir Ronald Sanders for the pick. The other potential candidate is former British Attorney General Baroness Patricia Scotland, who is being backed by her native Dominica.

Trinidad and Tobago government minister Bhoe Tewarie had also been in the running but he withdrew from the race

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