SIR Ronald Sanders, who recently took up his post in London as the High Commissioner for Antigua and Barbuda, has withdrawn from the contest for the post of Commonwealth Secretary-General, citing delay by the delegates to make a decision.
In a letter to the heads of government of the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada,
Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts-Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago, Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda said that as a result of Sir Ronald’s decision, his government would withdraw from the process.
Said Prime Minister Browne to his fellow heads of government: “I write to advise that Sir Ronald Sanders, my government’s nominee for post of Commonwealth Secretary-General has today written to me as follows: ‘There is nothing I hold more strongly than the desire to advance the interests of the CARICOM region and those of the Commonwealth. My working life in several Caribbean and Commonwealth capacities and my published writing bear testimony to that.
“‘I have followed closely your actions, and those of other Heads of Government, to advance my candidature as the Caribbean’s nominee for the Commonwealth Secretary-General’s position. I am truly grateful for the most excellent efforts; but I am deeply anguished that, despite majority support for me, the region has not been able to settle on one candidate. To be successful, the region must have a single candidate and should not delay any longer its entry into a campaign that has already started by others. I have no wish to be part of a fragmented process in the Commonwealth Caribbean at a time when our need for unity is so urgent in our own interest. Therefore, I have decided to withdraw my name from contention within the Caribbean for the post of Commonwealth Secretary-General.
“‘I need hardly add that, in all other respects, my commitments to you, to Antigua and Barbuda, to CARICOM and to the Commonwealth remain firm and unshakeable’.”
He continued: “I agree with the principled position that Sir Ronald has taken. As I told colleagues at the caucus of Heads of Commonwealth Caribbean governments in the margins of the Cuba-CARICOM conference on 8th December, I believe that the region has delayed too long on this matter, and further delay is inimical to a regional candidate’s chances.
“Therefore, notwithstanding the majority support for Sir Ronald and in full support of the principled regional position he has taken, my government hereby withdraws from the process.”
It is understood that Sir Ronald had nine of the 12 votes with The Bahamas being one of his nine supporters.