Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 27, 2015 (SKNIS) — Patricia Janet Scotland, 60, more commonly known as Baroness Scotland of Asthal has emerged as the sixth Commonwealth Secretary-General after a keenly contested race to replace Kamalesh Sharma, 74, the fifth Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations who assumed the position in 2008, having previously served as the High Commissioner for India in London.
Baroness Scotland, who was born in Dominica, but who moved to England (where she grew up) when she was three years old was able to garner the majority of votes from the 53 member states of the Commonwealth of Nations at the 24th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) being held in Valletta, Malta, from November 27-29, 2015.
Speaking shortly after the election of Baroness Scotland to the esteemed post, Prime Minister of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, had words of congratulation.
“It is a good feeling to know that a candidate promoted by the Caribbean with strong attachments to the region and a broad global view in the pedigree of Baroness Scotland should lead the Commonwealth of Nations in a new era when solutions are required to critical problems,” said Prime Minister Harris. “Baroness Scotland has the best wishes of the Government and People of St. Kitts and Nevis.”
Baroness Scotland is a British barrister and jurist who has served in many ministerial positions with the United Kingdom Government, most notably as Attorney General for England and Wales and Advocate General for Northern Ireland.
Of the three candidates who were vying for the post, it was the first time that two women were in the race. The other woman contender was Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba, a national of Botswana who served two terms as Deputy Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Secretariat from 2008-2014.
The only male in the race who received widespread support from the Caribbean was Sir Ronald Michael Sanders, who is a Guyanese/Antiguan scholar, journalist and diplomat. Born in 1948, Sir Ronald is currently Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United States and the Organization of American States (OAS). On April 25, 2014, he was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters (DLitt) by the University of the West Indies’ Council and Senate at the St. Augustine Campus.
In her first press conference as Commonwealth Secretary General-elect, Her Excellency Baroness Scotland referred to her election as “such an honour to be appointed to this role”, adding that Antigua was also a winner because she was Antiguan on her father’s side.
“I am a daughter of Africa too. I am truly a child of the Commonwealth. I hope that the 53 of us will look to create a better world for our children,” she said.
Her Excellency Baroness Scotland was nominated by the Commonwealth of Dominica and Sir Ronald Sanders was nominated by Antigua and Barbuda.