CARICOM alleged to be embarrassed by Dominica

| September 30, 2014

Caribbean news. Dominica has come under scrutiny in a regional news publication for behaviour which it is alleged, has caused “confusion and embarrassment” to other CARICOM) governments.

Baroness Scotland Photo courtesy caymannetnews.com

Baroness Scotland Photo courtesy caymannetnews.com

An article which appears in regional online newspaper, Caribbean News Now, states, ” The insistence by the government of Dominica to sponsor the candidacy of a sitting member of the British parliament and former minister in the British government for the post of Commonwealth secretary-general when the office comes up for election in November 2015 is causing confusion and embarrassment to other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) governments.”

According to the article, the start of a scheduled meeting of CARICOM foreign ministers in New York in the margins of the UN General Assembly last Thursday was delayed when Baroness Patricia Scotland of Asthal, a Labour Party peer in the British House of Lords, was found to be occupying Dominica’s chair.

The article goes on to state that CARICOM representatives objected to the presence of the former British government minister and “following a hurried discussion outside the meeting room”, she was “quietly asked to leave the room.”

The position of CARICOM governments on several sensitive international matters was scheduled to be discussed at that meeting, Caribbean News Now reports in the article.

“Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit claims that he is sponsoring Baroness Scotland’s candidacy for the post of Commonwealth secretary-general because she was “born in Dominica”, even though she left there when she was just two years old and has never worked for any Dominica government, Caribbean government or Caribbean institution,” the article further states.

It adds that the Baroness’s presence at the CARICOM foreign ministers meeting appeared to be an obvious attempt to promote her Commonwealth candidacy even though other CARICOM nominees for the post were not at the meeting.

At the end of the last CARICOM Heads of government Conference held in Antigua from 1-4 July, 2014, it was agreed by all Caribbean leaders that CARICOM would put forward one candidate for the position of Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.

“Scotland’s nomination by Dominica does not sit well with other CARICOM governments, which point to the fact that her entire career has been in Britain — she is part of the British establishment and she has worked exclusively for the British government, holding several positions in the government and legislature for 17 years,” the article points out.

It reveals that one senior Caribbean minister asked rhetorically why the baroness is not a UK government nominee, given the many ministerial positions which she has held in the United Kingdom.

Scotland has been a member of the British parliament since 1997 and has served in many ministerial positions in the British government, including that of attorney general of England and Wales.

According to the Caribbean News Now, “she has reportedly never worked for any Caribbean government or Caribbean organisation and, as a senior member of the British government, she is said to have worked for the British government to persuade Caribbean governments to accept British positions.”

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. Article courtesy http://dominicanewsonline.com/

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