Trinidad Commonwealth secretary general nominee withdraws

Port of Spain, Trinidad — Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie, the newly elected member of parliament for Caroni Central in Trinidad, has formally withdrawn his candidacy as Trinidad and Tobago’s nominee for the post of Commonwealth secretary general.

He made this known, curiously, by writing last week to the secretary-general of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat rather than the Commonwealth Secretariat.

In fact, the CARICOM Secretariat itself has no locus standi in the matter, since its membership is made up of countries of which only some are also members of the Commonwealth.

“This letter is to withdraw my name from consideration for the support of CARICOM heads for the post of secretary general of the Commonwealth. I shall be grateful if you would inform CARICOM heads of same,” Tewarie said in his letter.

He explained that, as a member of parliament, he must meet his obligations in Trinidad and Tobago in that capacity.

Tewarie’s withdrawal was not unexpected and had been reported by regional media some months ago, although, when asked by Caribbean News Now to confirm or deny such reports in July, he declined to comment, while at the same time seeming, at best, ambivalent about his continued nomination.

Following the September 7th general elections in Trinidad and Tobago, Caribbean News Now contributor, Melanius Alphonse, also noted that Tewarie’s standing for parliament indicated in itself an absence of any real commitment to the Commonwealth.

He noted that, in any event, following the assumption of office of Trinidad and Tobago’s new prime minister Dr Keith Rowley, it seemed to be a foregone conclusion that Tewarie’s nomination would not survive the change in government.

In March, then opposition leader Rowley urged his predecessor Kamla Persad-Bissessar to withdraw her nomination of Tewarie and instead to back Caribbean academic/diplomat, Sir Ronald Sanders, who has the support of at least nine nations in the Commonwealth Caribbean.

He said Tewarie’s nomination had no chance of going forward, and so Trinidad and Tobago should instead back Sanders, “a quintessential Caribbean man”.

Rowley repeated his position last month when he said a People’s National Movement (PNM) government would back Sanders, Antigua and Barbuda’s nominee.

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