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JM | May 16, 2022

Kamina Johnson Smith | Why I am running to become 2022 Secretary-General of the Commonwealth

/ Our Today

As the official representative of the Jamaican delegation, Minister of Foreign Affairs Kamina Johnson Smith speaks at the flag-raising ceremony of Jamaica Day at Expo 2020 in Dubai on February 18, 2022. (Photo: Twitter @kaminajsmith)

I am Kamina Johnson-Smith, Jamaica’s Candidate for Secretary-General of the Commonwealth 2022.

You would have already seen my Government’s Diplomatic Note advising of my candidature and as well as articles and press releases surrounding Jamaica’s bid for the role of Secretary-General for the Commonwealth.

I know that some of you have questions – why has Jamaica come forward? And why now, for example.

Some time ago, Jamaica was approached by a number of countries across the Commonwealth and encouraged to nominate me as a candidate for the role of Secretary-General.

Initially, we hoped that the issues which gave rise to the requests would have been resolved in the interest of solidarity and goodwill among our family of Commonwealth Nations. Regrettably, this has not happened.

When my sister CS Monica Juma, Kenya’s candidate, withdrew, Jamaica was once again approached and this time, we embarked on consultations, the results of which were so encouraging that we decided to step forward. It was a decision made after serious deliberation and consultation with stakeholders across different regions and thought to be in the interests of the institution.

There have also been queries as to why the Commonwealth Caribbean would put forward two candidates for the post, however, this has happened before. In fact, in 2015, there were three Caribbean candidates.

Quite simply, It is important to understand two things: 1) that CARICOM Heads have never unanimously endorsed the incumbent and 2) that under the community’s founding agreement, the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, CARICOM Member States are not obligated to harmonise foreign policy, but are rather called upon to aim towards coordination of foreign policy where possible.

Kamina Johnson Smith (top left) serving as Jamaica’s in-person representative at the April 2022 CARICOM summit in Belize, while Prime Minister Andrew Holness attended virtually. (Photo: CARICOM.org)

This has always been the practice and we continue to work in great collegiality and with mutual respect for each other as CARICOM brothers and sisters.

I have always been passionate about multilateralism as an effective tool for meaningful dialogue that can advance the attainment of our global development goals.

Those who have worked with me over the years will attest to my unwavering commitment to public service and my demonstrated skill, energy and competence to promote unity, transparency, inclusiveness, accountability and focus in my leadership.


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