PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad — Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr Keith Rowley has indicated his country’s support for Jamaica’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Senator Kamina Johnson-Smith in her challenge for Secretary General of the Commonwealth Secretariat.
He was addressing a news conference at Piarco International Airport on Sunday, following a six-day visit to Guyana where he attended an agri-investment conference.
Announcing his backing, Dr Rowley said it was never his country’s position that incumbent Patricia Scotland could adequately represent the Caribbean given her background.
“Caricom (Caribbean Community) claims to have the position — I may tell you now that it was never Trinidad and Tobago’s position that Caricom did have that position, personal, but we had the option, it was our turn to be afforded the chairmanship but when that came about in the Malta meeting, Caricom supported an individual who while Caribbean by birth, having spent two years here (in the Caribbean), in fact, had lived all her useful life in the United Kingdom, had risen to the level of Attorney General in the United Kingdom and had in fact become a baroness in the British Parliament,” Prime Minister Rowley explained.
He continued: “It was always the position of Trinidad and Tobago that such a person was not really a represent of Caricom to represent us when it was our turn to lead. That position was not shared by our other colleagues, however, the election did have Caricom support and that election went into favour of the incumbent.”
He said now that the election is due again, Trinidad and Tobago’s position remains consistent. However, in the wider Caricom, the situation has changed.
“There are now two Caricom candidates and unfortunately, Trinidad and Tobago only has one vote so we are required now to support either or of these two candidates. It is Trinidad and Tobago’s position that remains consistent and therefore our support for one of the Caricom candidates will be support for Minister Kamina Johnson Smith, the foreign minister of Jamaica,” he said.
Commonwealth leaders will gather for the June 20-25 Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Rwanda this year. A consensus vote will be taken then.
Dr Rowley will not be in attendance.
Johnson Smith formally launched Jamaica’s candidature for secretary general of the Commonwealth in London, United Kingdom in April of this year.