The Jamaican Government has announced the candidacy of Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, for the post of Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.
A release from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) on Friday evening said a decision on the appointment of a secretary-general is to be made during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting that is scheduled for June 20-25 in Kigali, Rwanda.
Johnson Smith, Jamaica’s first female Minister of foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, was first appointed in 2016, is said to have held several leadership posts both regionally and internationally, having served as President of the OACPS Council of Ministers and Chair of CARIFORUM and the CARICOM Council on Trade and Economic Development.
She was said to have represented Jamaica at numerous bilateral, regional, hemispheric and international engagements, and is said to be the first Jamaican foreign minister to be invited to G7 and G20 ministerial meetings.
The release said Jamaica is presently the African, Caribbean and Pacific Coordinator within the World Trade Organisation (WTO), a role that is headed by Johnson Smith.
“The Government of Jamaica has every confidence in minister Johnson Smith’s abilities to build bridges and consensus, bringing governments and peoples to a common understanding. Her qualifications for the post of secretary-general, including her high moral character, diplomatic and political acumen, proven competence, and commitment to the work of the Commonwealth, make her an excellent candidate,” the release quoted Prime Minister Andrew Holness on the candidacy.
“She will bring a wealth of experience to the position, and is committed to international public service, with special regard for sustainable development, gender and the interests of small states, which will contribute significantly to the work of the organisation towards 2.5 billion citizens of the Commonwealth,” added Holness.
Johnson Smith is an attorney who previously worked in private practice and as a corporate in-house counsel, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in French, a Bachelor of Laws, and a Master of Laws in Commercial Law. She speaks French as a foreign language.
Johnson Smith is presently serving in her second term as Leader of Government Business in the Senate.