Johnson Smith said she sees the Commonwealth’s common purpose, unity and common English-speaking ties as key to making the organization a more active global power, addressing issues such as climate change.
Johnson Smith denied that her challenge for the top spot was too late to be effective.
“As a foreign minister told me, if she had to put her money on anyone in a sprint, it would be in a Jamaican. “So I got it, I had it in my possession,” he laughed.
The Jamaican’s candidacy follows the frustrated attempt by Kenyan Monica Juma to challenge Scotland for the position. Scotland has alienated many countries in the bloc, including the United Kingdom and Australia.
Johnson Smith and Juma were both accused by Scottish supporters of being British puppets.
The minister said she was offended by the proposal.
“Not only a national crime, but also a personal crime,” he said. “The role we have played in decolonization, liberation, human rights and the promotion of democracy worldwide must speak for itself, that for a long time we have been acting as a nation beyond our size.”
Johnson Smith’s candidacy has split the Caribbean bloc, the largest within the group, and threatens to upset African nations.
This is because under the contract, the term of office of a Secretary-General is four years and re-election is usually unquestionable, which means that the term of office usually lasts eight years.
Because Scotland’s term has been extended by two years due to the pandemic and the twice-delayed CHOGM meeting, he has said he will seek only two more years, after which it will be Africa’s turn to run.
Johnson Smith has confirmed that she is seeking a four-year term and that a second term will depend on members of the Commonwealth.
Rejected criticism of her candidacy as divisive, saying she was running to unify the organization that split under Scotland.
“Democracy has to do with choosing and presenting more than one option, especially where it has been encouraged, there have been countries in many areas that have encouraged me to appear,” he said.
“The United Kingdom supports my candidacy … it is not the only country,” he said, adding that India, Singapore, the Maldives, Grenada and Belize also supported it.
Under the Morrison administration, Australia was seen as campaigning hard for Johnson Smith, but this is believed to have shifted to a more neutral stance following the change of government in May.
Scotland was plagued by early funding disputes over how to manage the bloc’s finances, with Australia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand seeking funding.
Johnson Smith said that good governance of the Commonwealth, so that more funding could be spent on improving living standards across the family of nations, was its key commitment.
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