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Dominica baroness a regional embarrassment, says Antigua PM

patricia_scotland4From Caribbean News Now

LONDON, England — Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne has described reports of profligate misspending and wastage by Commonwealth secretary general, Dominican-born Baroness Patricia Scotland, as an embarrassment to the Caribbean.

Browne said that, instead of bringing benefits to the region, she brought shame, the Antigua Observer reported.

He said the election of a real Caribbean person of great competence and experience was missed because of insularity, a culture of non-cooperation and hate of our own.

The prime minister blamed regional individuals he referred to as shortsighted opposition leaders and others within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) for supporting Scotland, whose ‘dominant nationality’ is in fact British, not Dominican.

At the Commonwealth heads of government meeting (CHOGM) last November, support from a few Caribbean countries allegedly came as a result of a process described as “utterly corrupt” by Dominican opposition leader Lennox Linton that involved the award of knighthoods for rich friends and dubious investments in a few countries by a disgraced British sect of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George.

Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit was among those “knighted” and given promises of investment just six months before he nominated her as the country’s candidate for Commonwealth secretary general.

However, the legitimate Order, based in Spain, has disowned the British sect. Scotland was a vice delegate for England of the British sect along with her “dear friend” Anthony Bailey, who masquerades in Britain as “Sir” contrary to established rules laid down by Buckingham Palace regarding foreign ‘knighthoods’.

Meanwhile, reliable sources have told Caribbean News Now that Scotland was visibly shaken at an October 10 meeting of the Commonwealth Board of Governors by the strong reaction of African countries, supported by Asia, over the perceived abuse of her authority as secretary-general in at least three areas.

These were: the lavish spending on refurbishing and redecorating the grace and favour mansion in Mayfair in which she now lives; trying to implement a re-organisational plan that she commissioned from her self-described “partner in crime” Lord Patel without the Board’s agreement and prior to a strategic plan being finalised; and her proposal that the three deputy secretaries-general be fired, leaving her and her cronies in her private office in full charge of all the Secretariat’s affairs.

The African group of countries had reportedly met before the meeting to harmonise their position and are said to have been systematic in their opposition to Scotland’s plans.

In rejecting Scotland’s plans to get rid of the three deputy secretaries-general, the Board members pointed out that the memorandum of understanding establishing the Secretariat clearly states that “there will be deputy secretaries-general” for the clear reason of putting checks and balances on the secretary general. The three deputies – all of whom are known to be “extremely unhappy” with Scotland’s abrasiveness – are from Australia (administration), Kenya (political) and Trinidad and Tobago (economic).

The Scotland/Patel re-organisational plan was also rejected by the Board pending “further and better particulars”, as was her request for additional funding.

According to Britain’s Sun newspaper, India has now hinted they could pull their share of Commonwealth funding after “spendaholic” Scotland left the organisation’s headquarters penniless.

New Delhi newspaper The Wire reported Indian government sources claiming: “We are the fourth largest financial contributor to the Commonwealth. We have concerns in how the budget is being spent.”

Along with Britain, Canada and Australia, Indian taxpayers are the largest contributors to the Commonwealth group.

The most recent in a long string of damaging revelations will increase pressure on the embattled £160,000 (US$200,000)-a-year secretary-general to quit after a slew of embarrassing leaks about her expenses, the Sun noted.

Earlier, Scotland has been accused of wasting £45,000 (US$56,000) of Commonwealth taxpayers’ money on a nine-day junket to the Rio Olympics, despite having told reporters that she was only travelling to Brazil to attend the games for “a few days” to meet with officials, open a one-day conference and visit the athletes’ village.

The Mail on Sunday reported at the time that even the Scotland’s staff was surprised by the lavish trip, saying that her predecessors had only made brief visits to the Olympics of three days at the most.

Scotland won the post of secretary-general with fewer than 50 percent of the votes at the CHOGM in Malta a year ago, becoming the first secretary-general ever to be elected on a minority vote. On the final round of voting, of the 53 member states, she received 25 votes with former deputy secretary-general, Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba of Botswana, securing 24 and 2 votes spoiled.

Scotland has nevertheless asserted she was elected unanimously.

While Scotland was nominated for the post by Dominica, on the basis that it was ‘the Caribbean’s turn’ to fill the post, it was well known that she was the British candidate, actively promoted by then Prime Minister David Cameron, who she served as trade envoy to South Africa.

However, according to the Sun, new British Prime Minister Theresa May delivered a “hammer blow to scandal-hit Baroness Scotland by publicly withdrawing support for embattled Commonwealth boss”.

May’s official spokeswoman refused to say she had the backing of the prime minister, saying merely that May supported the role of the secretary general rather than Scotland personally.

“The PM supports the role of secretary general of the Commonwealth and the important work the office does,” she said.

Downing Street also directly refuted a claim by Scotland that she had received a “wonderful letter” from the prime minister dated October 31, expressing support for her work.

However, Downing Street officials said the letter was in response to other correspondence and only indicated support for the work of the Commonwealth, not Scotland personally.

On a visit to Dominica after winning the Commonwealth vote, the baroness told detractors of the Skerrit regime there to “sousey sel” (suck salt) — a deeply offensive Creole curse.

Now it could be the baroness who is left “sucking salt” as Commonwealth nations become increasingly frustrated at her behaviour, the Sun noted.

IMAGE: patricia_scotland4.jpg
Notwithstanding persistent allegations of cronyism (said to be “a form of corruption”) as secretary-general of the Commonwealth, Baroness Scotland is expected to deliver Transparency International UK’s 2016 Anti-Corruption Lecture on December 8, 2016. Photo: TI-UK

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EDITOR: iNews Cayman has received threatening emails from lawyers claiming they act for Baroness Scotland in response to articles we have published regarding the alleged squandering of money by the Baroness.


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