The race for Commonwealth Secretary-General has ended. After over two months of campaigning, Jamaica’s candidate Kamina Johnson-Smith losing by three votes, to the incumbent Baroness Patricia Scotland. This defeat means Johnson-Smith will remain Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.
The announcement was made after an election in Kigali, Rwanda Friday morning. Although Johnson-Smith appeared confident about the outcome prior to the election, she was three votes short, securing 24, to baroness Scotland’s 27. Johnson smith’s candidature was publicly endorsed by Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, India, Singapore, Maldives and the United Kingdom, but that wasn’t enough to secure her spot. Nevertheless, Prime Minister Andrew Holness says even in defeat, the minister has won herself, and Jamaica the respect and admiration of many commonwealth countries.
Holness, while congratulating Senator Johnson-Smith says several cabinet members admitted they are relieved she will retain her post as minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade. In addition, scores of other members of the government and opposition are extending congratulations to the minister on a good campaign.
Meanwhile, in a tweet on Friday, Johnson-Smith, in addition to congratulating her opponent, says “Thanking all the countries and people who supported me in this journey! As I said to many of you, if I didn’t pull through, God wasn’t ready for me to leave Jamaica yet! Much love always”. Baroness Scotland, who urged Johnson-Smith to withdraw from the race, will now proceed in completing the remaining two years of her tenure.
Reporter: Velonique Bowen