ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Monday February 16, 2015, CMC – Antigua and Barbuda has re-named its High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Sir Ronald Sanders as a candidate for the post of Commonwealth Secretary General.
Sir Ronald faces a challenge from Baroness Patricia Scotland who is the Dominica candidate and Trinidad and Tobago’s nominee, the Minister of Planning and Development Dr. Bhoendradatt Tewarie.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne has written to Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries outlining his administration’s position as it relates to Sir Ron’s candidature.
“Since writing to you on 10 December 2014 regarding my withdrawal of Antigua and Barbuda’s nomination of Sir Ronald Sanders for the upcoming position of Commonwealth Secretary-General, I have been overwhelmed by messages of regret and requests for reconsideration from within and beyond the Caribbean, including from some of you.
“The burden of those messages was that the Commonwealth has been deprived, at a time of crisis, of the candidate manifestly most suitable and most likely to be chosen given his Commonwealth-wide network and diplomatic experience. The latter concern is the principal motivation of this message,” he wrote.
Prime Minister Browne said that “Sir Ron has the declared support of nine of the 12 Commonwealth Caribbean governments at our December 8 meeting” and that it is still open to him to put Sir Ron forward as a the candidate of Antigua and Barbuda for the post.
But he reminded his regional colleagues that at their meeting in Cuba no other candidate had received more than two votes, and that quite recently CARICOM leaders did not apply any consensus requirement to candidates for the posts of Secretary General of the ACP Group and the Deputy Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS).
Prime Minister Browne said that “in the interest of Caribbean unity among ourselves and in the projection of our unity to the Commonwealth” he is still anxious “that we proceed by consensus if we possibly can”.
He said he has “strongly urged Sir Ronald to withdraw his intimation of standing down his candidacy despite his earlier decision in what he considered to be the interest of our region.
“He, too, would still prefer the region to go forward as one. And has told me of the great sense of honour he felt at receiving the backing of so many Heads of Government.”
Browne said he will use a meeting of Commonweath Caribbean leaders later this month to seek consensus for Sir Ronald’s candidature as the Commonwealth Secretary General.
“Given that in Cuba last month there was majority support of Sir Ronald, I look forward in fraternity to your backing,” Browne added.