Baroness Patricia Scotland was unveiled today as the Commonwealth Secretary-General Designate at the Commonwealth summit in Malta, a release from the Commonwealth said.
Her election today at the meeting of the Heads of Government culminates a bruising two-year battle which saw her pitted against Antigua’s nominee Sir Ron Sanders. While she was nominated by her home country Dominica, critics saw her as London’s nominees as she is a peer and held a senior Cabinet position in the British government. This year it was the Caribbean’s turn to nominate a candidate based on the principle of rotation. Sanders’ nomination attracted support from the majority of CARICOM countries but Dominica held steadfastly to its nominee and was reportedly supported by Barbados and Belize. Guyana recently announced its support for Sanders though the six-month-old government had taken its time on the decision. A third Caribbean candidate Dr Bhoe Tiwarie was withdrawn by Trinidad after the recent change in government there. Port-of-Spain them announced it was backing Sanders.
The Baroness was born in Dominica in 1955, then moved with her family to Britain. She obtained her LLB in 1976, was called to the Bar in 1977 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1991. She received a life peerage and was created Baroness Scotland of Asthal in 1997. Baroness Scotland has held the position of Attorney General (2007 to 2010), Minister of State (Home Office) (Crime Reduction) (2007 to 2007), Minister of State (Home Office) (Criminal Justice and Offender Management) (2003 to 2007), and Parliamentary Secretary (Lord Chancellor’s Department) (2001 to 2003) in government.
The Baroness will be the sixth Commonwealth Secretary-General and the first woman to take up this post.
The release quoted the Baroness as saying: “I am incredibly proud to be the first woman to be Commonwealth Secretary-General. I want to put the women’s agenda firmly on the table and work with leaders, governments, local goverments and other partners. I invite every Commonwealth citizen to join in making these aspirations a reality.”