KIGALI, Rwanda — Jamaica's Kamina Johnson Smith has suffered a narrow defeat in her bid to become the Commonwealth Secretary General.
Unofficial reports to the OBSERVER ONLINE are that Johnson Smith polled 25 votes to 27 polled by Baroness Patricia Scotland.
Heads of Government met Friday to first seek consensus on who should lead the Commonwealth Secretariat for the next two years or to vote to elect a new secretary general.
“Thanking all the countries and people who supported me in this journey! 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. #OneLove,” Johnson Smith posted to her official twitter page.
Several countries had publicly declared support for Johnson Smith in her bid to become Commonwealth secretary general including Belize, India, the United Kingdom and Trinidad and Tobago.
Earlier today, Scotland scoffed at challenges to her leadership.
“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,” she said.
The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 54 independent and equal countries. It is home to 2.5 billion people, and includes advanced economies and developing countries. Thirty-two of the Commonwealth members are small states, including many island nations.
The grouping includes 19 African states, 13 from the Caribbean, 11 Pacific states, eight Asian states and three from Europe.
The Commonwealth’s roots go back to the British Empire but today any country can join. The last country to join the Commonwealth was Rwanda in 2009.