Belize is supporting Jamaica’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Kamina Johnson-Smith, in her bid for the Commonwealth Secretary-General post. Incumbent candidate, Patricia Scotland, is seeking a second term at the helm of the Commonwealth Secretariat, but is being challenged by Johnson-Smith, who announced her candidature shortly after several Caricom states had reportedly agreed to support Scotland’s bid. Johnson-Smith has been making the rounds since her announcement and has already secured the public endorsement of Commonwealth nations, including home nation Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, India, the United Kingdom and now Belize. Prime Minister John Briceno says Johnson-Smith is the better choice.
John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “CARICOM then decided to try to interview both candidates before we were to decide ok who is it that we are going to interview. It was very difficult to get both of them to come and within a short period of time, I mean because we go to Kigali Kenya I think it’s around the 22nd or somewhere around there or the 26th of June to vote for a new Secretary General for Commonwealth and because we could not have done that then CARICOM decided to allow the CARICOM countries to decide who they want to elect. Now we are grateful to Baroness Scotland for her work, she came for the ICJ and tried to help Belize and they have helped us in trying to get some judges through the Commonwealth secretariat so we are grateful to her but at the moment when we started to look at both candidates Belize has decided that we are going to support foreign minister Kamina Johnson-Smith. Why? Well first of all she has a wealth of experience. She has been foreign minister for this is her second term. She is the leader of government in the Senate. She has chaired different committees worldwide. The vision that she has in working together that she can put countries to be able to work together where she is saying that no country can have development by itself there has to be cooperation between the developed countries and the developing countries like ours. I believe that she represents what we believe that the commonwealth secretariat needs and that is why Belize will support foreign minister Kamina Johnson-Smith.”
Reporter: But that’s not CARICOM’s position –
John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “As I said I think a number of countries have already said that they are going to support her. I think Trinidad and Tobago for instance already announced that they’re going to support her. She’s a very good candidate, she is likable, she is hardworking and she can get people to work together and I think that is more than anything else important.”