Bridgetown, Barbados — Do not look to St Vincent and the Grenadines for any support, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves told Britain’s Baroness Patricia Scotland of Asthal, who is seeking regional backing as Dominica’s nominee for the position of Commonwealth secretary general, the Barbados Sun reported.
Gonsalves reportedly wrote to Scotland, a sitting member of Britain’s House of Lords, on Monday reaffirming his country’s position, after indicating during the closed door talks at the recent Caribbean Community (CARICOM) heads of government meeting in Barbados that she would not have his support.
“Despite your impressive scholastic and professional accomplishments, including the holding of important public offices in Britain, the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines considers it improper and unacceptable for a member of any parliament, in your case the House of Lords, even on extended leave, to serve at the same time as secretary general of the Commonwealth. The government of St Vincent and the Grenadines insists that such a person should demit membership of that parliament in order to serve as secretary general of the Commonwealth. Since you are unwilling or unable to demit, the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines cannot afford serious consideration to your candidacy,” Gonsalves wrote.
Commonwealth Caribbean governments have been criticized for their failure to unite behind one candidate for the secretary general post, with a small number of them, including Barbados, supporting Scotland, while the majority is understood to support Antigua and Barbuda’s nominee, Sir Ronald Sanders.
A third candidate, Bhoe Tewarie, nominated by Trinidad and Tobago, is widely reported to have withdrawn but he has so far declined to comment on such reports.