Gaston Browne Questions Johnson-Smith’s Candidacy

The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne has taken issue with the candidacy of Jamaica’s Foreign Affairs Minister for the post of Secretary General of the Commonwealth. He believes the move could divide the region. The prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne has taken issue with the candidacy of Jamaica’s Foreign Affairs Minister for the post of Secretary General of the commonwealth. 

He believes the move could divide the region. Antigua’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne has described Senator Kamina Johnson-Smith’s candidacy for commonwealth secretary general as a “monumental error” which he says could only serve to divide the Caribbean. According to Antigua Newsroom, Browne told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that Jamaica was party to a recent Caricom consensus endorsing the re-election of Dominican-born baroness Patricia Scotland; one he says should never be broken without overwhelming cause.

The office of the Prime Minister announced the Foreign Minister’s candidacy Friday night, describing her as “eminently qualified for the post”. In a statement, the OPM says she has held several crucial leadership posts both regionally and internationally, having served as President of the OACPS Council of Ministers, Chair of Cariforum and the Caricom Council on trade and economic development.

It further states the foreign affairs minister has represented Jamaica at numerous bilateral, regional, hemispheric and international encounters, and was the first Jamaican Foreign Minister to be invited to g7 and g20 ministerial meetings. 

The OPM says Jamaica is currently the African, Caribbean and pacific coordinator within the world trade organisation; a role headed by the minister. Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the government of Jamaica is confident in Johnson-Smith’s ability to build bridges and consensus, adding that her qualifications for the post including her high moral character, diplomatic and political acumen, proven competence, and commitment to the work of the commonwealth, make her an excellent candidate. However, Gaston Browne maintains that those who seek to divide and rule, are encouraging Jamaica to present a candidate in opposition to the current secretary general, who is serving on a Caricom rotation.

A decision on the appointment of a secretary-general is to be made during the commonwealth heads of government meeting, from June 20 to 25 in Rwanda. CVM Live tried making contact with Minister Johnson Smith, but calls to her phone went unanswered.