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Guyana-born Sir Ronald Sanders could be next Commonwealth Secretary General

Sir Ronald Sanders.

Guyana expects that Antiguan, Sir Ronald Sanders, would become the next Secretary General of the Commonwealth when leaders of that 54-nation grouping meet later this month in Malta.

In declaring its support for the Guyana-born Saunders, the Foreign Ministry indicated that the principle of rotation is in his favour.

“In keeping with longstanding convention within the Commonwealth, the successful candidate will be selected by consensus and not by vote and is expected to come from the Caribbean based on a principle of regional rotation,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement.

“The Government of Guyana, in extending its support to Sir Ronald takes this  opportunity to wish him every success in his bid for the position of Secretary General of the Commonwealth,” the Foreign Ministry added.

The new Secretary General will be selected by Heads of State/Government during a  closed Executive Session on November 27, 2015 when the Commonwealth Heads of  Government Meeting convenes in Malta from November 27-29, 2015. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that in keeping with longstanding convention within the Commonwealth, the successful candidate will be selected by consensus and not by vote and is expected to come from the Caribbean based on a principle of regional rotation.

Sanders is currently Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States and Permanent Representative to the Organisation of American States (OAS).

The term of the current Commonwealth Secretary General Mr. Kamalesh Sharma, comes to an end in 2015 and the new Secretary General will assume office on April 1, 2016. The Secretary General’s term of office is for four years which can be renewed once. 

Also contesting are Mrs. Mmasekgoa Masire Mwamba from Botswana and the Baronness Patricia Scotland, QC; a British citizen, who was put forward by the Commonwealth of Dominica, her native country.

If selected, he will be following in the footsteps of his father-in-law, Guyana-born Sir Shridath Ramphal, who served as Commonwealth’s second Secretary General from 1970 to 1990.

At one time the youngest General Manager of the now defunct Guyana Broadcasting Service (GBS) in the 1970s, Sanders migrated to Antigua and Barbuda where he eventually became High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and negotiator for that country at the World Trade Organisation and the group of wealthiest nations called the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).