ROSEAU, Dominica, Tuesday September 30, 2014, CMC – The Dominica government is supporting the nomination of Baroness Patricia Scotland for the post of Commonwealth secretary general and has dismissed a regional media report that said she had been asked to leave a meeting in the United States last week because of an embarrassment to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
Dominica’s ambassador to the United Nations Dr. Vince Henderson said a report by the online publication, Caribbean News Now, headlined “Dominica embarrasses and confuses CARICOM” regarding the nomination of Baroness Scotland was “totally erroneous”.
The publication had also alleged that Baroness Scotland, 59, the youngest and first Black woman to be appointed Queen Counsel in the United Kingdom, was asked to leave a meeting after CARICOM representatives had objected to her presence while several sensitive international matters were being discussed.
But Henderson, speaking on the state-owned DBS radio Monday said this “is far from the truth.
“At no time Baroness Scotland or anybody of the Dominica delegation asked to leave any meeting at the margins of the 69th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session,” he said, adding that the story “is the furthest thing from the truth”.
He said Baroness Scotland is a Dominican national who has distinguished herself as a lawyer by profession and had been called to the Dominica Bar in 1978.
Henderson said that Baroness Scotland served with the British government in various capacities including the position of Attorney General.
“Baroness Scotland has put herself forward as the candidate for office of secretary general to the Commonwealth Secretariat. As a Dominican national the government feels obliged to provide her with our support and to a platform for her to present herself not only to CARICOM but also the other members of the Commonwealth and the 69th session of the UNGA…presented an excellent opportunity even if she is one of three CARICOM candidates for that position,” Henderson said.
He said the other two candidates are from Antigua and Barbuda and Trinidad and Tobago.
Media reports in Port of Spain have indicated that the Kamla Persad Bissessar administration has nominated Planning and Development Minister Dr. Bhoe Tewarie for the post, but the government has not officially made any public statement.
“We saw an opportunity to present out candidate throughout the Commonwealth because all the member states were present in New York,” Henderson said, insisting that Baroness Scotland was part of the Dominica delegation.
“We were happy to accommodate her and she joined us in several meetings including the CARICOM foreign ministers meeting, the Commonwealth foreign ministers…as well as other meetings that took place on the margins of the UN general debate,” Henderson said.
“To say she was asked to leave any meeting is the furthest thing from the truth,” the Dominican diplomat said, noting that when the opportunity came for discussion on candidature he asked her “politely to excuse herself because the matter was coming up for discussion”.
“She stepped out…we discussed the matter with the CARICOM ministers and when that discussion was over, I…informed her she could return. She came and we sat there throughout the meeting,” he added.