NewsCARICOM Fails to Show Unity over Ukraine and Candidacy for Commonwealth’s Top Post

St. Lucia News OnlineJuly 4, 202214803 min

Unity among Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member-states has given way to a split over Ukraine and its candidate for the top post of Secretary-General of the British Commonwealth.

At the April 7 vote at the United Nations General Assembly to expel Russia from the UN’s Human Rights Council, CARICOM’s 14 member-states were evenly split: half voted in support and the other half abstained.

Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica and St. Lucia supported the resolution, while Barbados, Belize, Guyana, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Surinam and Trinidad & Tobago abstained.

And over its candidate for the post of Commonwealth Secretary-General, CARICOM was again divided: the majority of member-states have indicated support for the re-election of the current Secretary-General Dame Patricia Scotland of Dominica, for a second term.

While Jamaica announced earlier this week that it will nominate its foreign Affairs Minister, Kamina Johnson Smith, for the position.

CARICOM’s unity is often tested around candidacy for the top Commonwealth post, which comes up for election every two years at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit (CHOGM), the grouping’s highest decision-making body.

The last summit was in London in 2018, but the COVID-19 Pandemic prevented the 2020 summit, now scheduled for June 21-23 this year.

At the 2018 summit, the Caribbean was split over Dominica’s candidacy of Dame Patricia Scotland and Antigua and Barbuda’s veteran Ambassador Sir Ronal Sanders.

After a bruising campaign, Dame Patricia won the vote.

The 2021 Commonwealth Summit will be in Rwanda June 21-23, 2022 — and unless Jamaica withdraws, the CARICOM vote will again be split.
However, the fear among most Caricom member-states is that a split of the Caribbean vote will likely cause traditional support from African countries within the Commonwealth for Caricom’s candidate to wane.

St. Lucia News Online

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