No consensus on Caribbean candidate for top Commonwealth post

GastonBrowne-2NASSAU, Bahamas (CMC) – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders have failed to agree on a single candidate for the post of Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne has said.

The leaders, who met in the Bahamas last week for their 26th inter-sessional summit, said no agreement had also been taken regarding the position of Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS).

“The answer to that question is no but the Community continues to review its position on that and we know there are a number of candidates who have had their names put forward but we have not yet determined whether or not there will be a single candidate…., “ said the CARICOM Chairman and the Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie.

Prime Minister Brown told reporters that the failure to agree on a single candidate does not mean there is disunity within the 15-member grouping on the issue or otherwise.

“It shows that we have a large cadre of qualified candidates within the region. I believe of the three candidates that they all have the capacity of serving of the Commonwealth Secretary General.

“I also believe too that they all have the capacity to succeed. Clearly if it was a situation where you had inferior candidates then I believe the Community would have asked the inferior ones to stand down.

“But that is not the position, they are all good candidates and it makes it very difficult for the conference or the Community to ask anyone of them to stand down,” Prime Minister Bowne said.

Antigua and Barbuda has named its High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Sir Ronald Sanders as its candidate while Dominica has named the former British Attorney General Baronness Patricia Scotland as its choice.

Trinidad and Tobago has named its Planning and Development Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie as its candidate to replace Kamalesh Sharma the former Indian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, who is ending his term as the Commonwealth Secretary General.

The last Caribbean national to serve as Commonwealth Secretary General was the Guyana-born Sir Shridath Ramphal, who served as the second person in the post from 1975-1990.

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