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Johnson Smith’s support for Commonwealth job encouraging – Holness

Published:Wednesday | April 13, 2022 | 12:06 AMEdmond Campbell/Senior Staff Reporter
Kamina Johnson Smith is vying for the post of Commonwealth secretary general.
Kamina Johnson Smith is vying for the post of Commonwealth secretary general.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness says CARICOM leaders have expressed overwhelming support for Kamina Johnson Smith.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness says CARICOM leaders have expressed overwhelming support for Kamina Johnson Smith.
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As the race for the post of Commonwealth Secretary General heats up, Prime Minister Andrew Holness says that support for Kamina Johnson Smith’s candidature for the job has been “generally very good and specifically very encouraging”.

In terms of its canvassing among Commonwealth states, the prime minister said it would not be appropriate to divulge the names of the countries that had signalled their support for Jamaica.

Oozing confidence, the prime minister said that Jamaica would not have entered such a race without first doing its homework properly.

Speaking with The Gleaner last Friday, Holness reiterated that several countries had approached Jamaica from as early as 2020 but the Government did not consider putting up a candidate at that time.

At this time it appears that Johnson Smith’s main contender for the post is the incumbent, the Dominica-born Baroness Patricia Scotland. The 54 members of the Commonwealth will elect a secretary general at their June 20-25 summit in Kigali, Rwanda.

At the 33rd intersessional meeting of CARICOM states in March, leaders of the 15-member community had expressed “overwhelming support” for the incumbent.

INCREASED SUPPORT

However, since that time it appears Jamaica’s Johnson Smith has been receiving increased support to run for the post and the country subsequently threw its hat in the ring.

The prime minister insisted on Friday that “Jamaica would not want to do anything that would be divisive to our family in CARICOM. Anything that we do as a country must be principled and to the benefit of Jamaica and the region, and we strongly believe that this is to Jamaica’s benefit and the region’s benefit, but also very important to the development of the institution of the Commonwealth which is becoming a very important vehicle for development, especially for small island developing states.”

The Commonwealth Secretariat has championed the cause of small and vulnerable states since the 1980s and campaigns internationally for special attention to the unique development challenges they face.

Thirty-two of the world’s 42 small states are Commonwealth members.

On its website, the Commonwealth Secretariat says it pushes for international policies and rules to be more responsive to small states’ needs.

It also helps Commonwealth small states access financing, build resilience, and have a voice on the global stage.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com