Jamaica candidate fails in bid to take over as Commonwealth Secretary General
The Foreign Minister of Jamaica, Kamina Johnson Smith, failed in her shock, last minute bid to become Secretary General of the Commonwealth, with Guyana and a majority of countries voting to retain Patricia Scotland.
Britain and Australia were among the biggest nations in the Commonwealth who wanted Scotland out but she prevailed, winning 27 votes to Johnson Smith’s 24.
Scotland was born in Dominica but was raised in the UK. She worked as a lawyer and politician until she became Secretary General of the Commonwealth, a bloc of mostly former British territories.
At a speech hours before the vote, Scotland defied the efforts to remove her, predicting that she would retain the post.
“We have laid the foundations for transformational change and I am determined that when the role of Secretary General rotates to Africa, two years from now, I will hand on the baton with a stronger more effective, more powerful Commonwealth than ever before.”
In the speech at the opening ceremony of the heads of government summit in Kigali, Rwanda, she said the job of Secretary General had been “the great honour and privilege of my life.”
The plan to remove Scotland was reportedly hatched by the UK, and Jamaica’s Johnson Smith only recently announced her candidacy for the job.
She acknowledged she had lost the contest in a Tweet.
“Thanking all the countries and people who supported me in this journey!” the Jamaican foreign minister said shortly after the vote.
“As I said to many of you, if I didn’t pull through, God wasn’t ready for me to leave Jamaica yet!
“Much love always, I continue to serve, and of course, sincere congratulations to Baroness Scotland,” she said.