A “significant majority” of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders meeting in Barbados on Wednesday have expressed support for embattled Dominica-born Commonwealth Secretary General, Baroness Patricia Scotland, who is seeking a second consecutive term in office.
Informed sources told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that only “one abstention” had been recorded when the leaders discussed the matter on the final day of their 31st Inter-sessional Summit.
The source would not identify the country that had abstained, but said it would be fair to say “a substantial majority of CARICOM states supported the Secretary General for reappointment”.
Earlier, a Commonwealth Secretariat statement indicated that Scotland, “has been supported to serve a second term by the Commonwealth of Dominica, the country of her birth”.
“As is customary, the leaders of all 54 Commonwealth countries will meet in June at their biennial summit in Rwanda, to discuss among other things, the reappointment of the Commonwealth Secretary-General,” the London-based Secretariat stated.
Some Commonwealth heads of government have already rejected calls to give Scotland an automatic second term of office when it comes up for renewal this year.
Britain is among some Commonwealth countries that suspended voluntary contribution to the Secretariat after Scotland was criticized by auditors for “circumventing” usual competitive tendering rules when she awarded a lucrative consultancy contract to a company run by a friend.
London has withheld its funding of £4.7 million (US$6.07 million), joining New Zealand and Australia in doing so until the Secretariat’s financial systems are tightened up and tested by external auditors.
The Commonwealth Secretariat is the central administrative hub for the intergovernmental organization that comprises 54 countries – many of them former British colonies – and encompasses almost a third of the world’s population.
According to official figures, about two-thirds of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s funding, estimated at £18.4 million (US$23.8 million) in 2018, comes from automatic subscriptions from member states, while the budget for the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation (CFTC), which is discretionary, is estimated at £12 million (US$15.5 million). The UK is the largest contributor to this Fund. (CMC)