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Behind the chaos at Malborough House

By Caribbean News Global fav

LONDON, England –  Never a week goes by without the British press reporting on Commonwealth chief Baroness Scotland and the chaos at Malborough House, more acute post-Brexit.

On February 6, BBC reported that “Diplomats fear the intergovernmental organisation – comprising more than 50 countries, many of them former British colonies, encompassing almost a third of the world’s population – now risks a bitter internal battle over its future leadership.”

“On 6 January, the prime minister reported back to Commonwealth leaders with the results of the survey. In his letter – which has been obtained by the BBC –[ prime minister] Johnson reveals that twice as many Commonwealth countries rejected the plan to offer Lady Scotland another four years in office.

In his letter to the Commonwealth’s 53 heads of government, dated 6 January, Johnson says: “A number of colleagues advocated offering the Right Honourable Patricia Scotland QC a second four-year term now.

“However, around double, that number said that we should offer her a short extension of her current contract so that we can discuss, debate and decide the 2020-2024 appointment in the usual way at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). “So there is no consensus to offer the current Secretary-General a second four-year term now.”

The Dailymail also reported that ‘Canberra’s threat to axe it’s £4million-a-year grant came as she faced a ‘trial by diplomat’ … amid mounting pressure to resign’.

There are also reports that ‘Australia, the Commonwealth’s third-biggest contributor has discussed, withholding £4 million a year. Canada has refused to reinstate funding withdrawn in 2013.’

It was also disclosed that New Zealand has already pulled the plug on its annual grant of nearly £2 million to the Commonwealth Secretariat because it has ‘no confidence’ in Baroness Scotland.

“Baroness Scotland was interrogated by 50 high commissioners at a crisis meeting of the Commonwealth Secretariat over a report which lambasted her over a £250,000 commission to a firm run by her Labour friend Lord Patel of Bradford.

“The showdown took place hours after a leaked letter by Boris Johnson confirmed a report by the Daily Mail [last week] that Baroness Scotland has been denied a second four-year term as the £160,000-a-year Commonwealth Secretary-General.”

The 64-year-old peer, who has been dubbed ‘Baroness Brazen’ and ‘Baroness Shameless’ over her lavish spending, is fighting to be reappointed when her four-year term expires in April. 

Baroness Scotland has always denied any wrongdoing. In 2017 she said: ‘It’s unfair to refer to me as Baroness Brazen.’ Asked in the same interview whether she believed she was criticised because she was a successful black woman, she replied: ‘That is for others to say. I’ve always been really focused on my career, doing what I can and allowing other people’s sexism, racism and prejudice to be their problem and not mine.’

Prime minister Johnson is said to be backing moves to persuade Amina Mohamed, a 58-year-old Kenyan politician, to challenge Baroness Scotland if she refuses to stand down.

Amina Mohamed

“If the Commonwealth is to re-embrace post-Brexit, then we need a dynamic leader who believes in trade rather than heading a dead end club,”  said a commenter to The Telegraph headline ‘Baroness Scotland looks set to be removed as head of Commonwealth as leaders reject automatic second term’.

Reportedly, Baroness Scotland has been given a three-month stay of execution from March, when her current contract ends, until June, when the Commonwealth heads of government meeting takes place in Rwanda. Her fate will be decided then.

‘How Baroness Scotland was elected Commonwealth Secretary-General’

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