The incumbent Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Baroness Patricia Scotland has been reelected for a second term in office during the ongoing Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2022, in Kigali, Rwanda.
Scotland, who has occupied the position for the past 6 years, was reelected to continue in serving for the next two years, despite earlier reports that she would be ousted in favour of the Jamaican Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kamina Johnson-Smith, who had the backing of the United Kingdom and India.
Baroness Scotland received 27 votes against Kamina Johnson Smith’s 23 votes in a vote which had seemingly divided the 54-members of The Commonwealth, with some back Scotland to continue and others looking to bring on board a new Secretary General.
Scotland successfully managed to retain her position despite not being backed by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, with analysts stating that her historic win as signified the trust countries had in her to continue, having led the body through difficult times.
By press time, further details of the poll which happened behind closed doors were yet to emerge but the Jamaican contender took to Twitter to congratulate the incumbent, stating that ‘God wasn’t ready’ for her to leave Jamaica yet.
“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, I continue to serve, and of course, sincere congratulations to Baroness Scotland.” Kamina tweeted.
“Thank you for your gracious congratulations and I am looking forward to working with you closely in the years to come. I am sure you will achieve great things by God’s grace.” responded Scotland.
It is understood that her term will be two years, instead of the usual 4 years, having stayed two years longer than her first term, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. KT Press understands a consensus was reached to allow her to continue before the position rotates to Africa in two years time.
Who is Patricia Scotland
Patricia Janet Scotland QC is the 6th Commonwealth Secretary-General. She was born in Dominica and was their candidate for the post at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta in 2015. She is the second Secretary-General from the Caribbean and the first woman to hold the post.
Born on 19 August 1955 in Dominica, Scotland moved to the UK with her family, growing up in east London. She trained as a lawyer and became the first black woman to be appointed a Queen’s Counsel (QC) in 1991. At 35 she was also the youngest woman ever to be made a QC and the first black woman to be appointed Deputy High Court Judge, Recorder and Master of Middle Temple.
She joined the House of Lords in 1997 as Baroness Scotland of Asthal and went on to serve as a minister in the Foreign Office, Home Office and Lord Chancellor’s Department. She undertook major reform of the criminal justice system, including the introduction of the Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act.
Scotland was appointed Attorney General in 2007 – the first woman to hold the post since it was created in 1315. She founded the Eliminate Domestic Violence Global Foundation in 2011 and was later appointed Prime Ministerial Trade Envoy to South Africa in 2012. She was elected as the Alderman of Bishopsgate in the City of London in 2014. She was warded Eminent Caribbean Jurists Award in 2022.