Trini drops Commonwealth nominee

Nominee Sir Ronald Sanders, ex-nominee Bhoendradatt Tewarie and Prime Minister Keith Rowley.

20151105-WithdrawnPORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley has announced the formal withdrawal of Dr. Bhoendradatt Tewarie as the country’s nominee for the office of Commonwealth secretary general.

Rowley said the secretary general of the Commonwealth has been advised by letter, through the appropriate diplomatic channels, that Trinidad and Tobago has exercised its discretion to formally withdraw its nominee.

He said his government will give its full support to Sir Ronald Sanders, the candidate put forward by the government of Antigua and Barbuda and urged other Commonwealth Caribbean governments to do likewise.

“We believe (Sanders) is best placed to execute the responsibilities of the office of secretary general in a manner that would be a tribute to the peoples of the Caribbean Community,” Rowley said.

Rowley noted that, over recent months, it appeared that Commonwealth Caribbean governments, unlike the African region which has endorsed one candidate, have not been able to reach a consensus on a single candidate to stand for election as the new secretary general of the Commonwealth when Commonwealth heads of government meet in Malta from Nov. 27-29.

Pointing out that the consensus in the media is that it’s the Caribbean’s turn to assume the leadership of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Rowley said “Unfortunately, the situation in our region is quite different, with three members of the Caribbean Community having mounted candidates, namely, Sir Ronald Sanders of Antigua and Barbuda; Baroness Patricia Scotland of Asthal, a Dominican-born sitting life peer in the British House of Lords, on behalf of Dominica; and Dr. Bhoendradatt Tewarie.”

He noted that Trinidad and Tobago intends to play an active role at the Commonwealth heads of government meeting next month, consistent with its long standing policy of engagement.