Tue | Dec 5, 2023

Kamina’s critics should have spoken up sooner

Published:Wednesday | June 29, 2022 | 12:11 AM


Most critics now voicing their opinion about Kamina Johnson Smith’s bid for the Commonwealth secretary general position should have done so earlier. Would their views be the same had Johnson Smith won?

This was not simply about supporting a Jamaican candidate; there were too many issues, questions and concerns. Johnson Smith and PM Holness created disunity and division in CARICOM and the Commonwealth, as they attempted to disrupt the cycle of rotation of appointments and the traditional two terms.

Although I was critical of Johnson Smith, I expected the votes to be split down the line. Despite the controversy, I felt that Johnson Smith had a chance to pull a surprise upset victory amid the chaos she created with the challenge. In the end, she managed to secure nearly half of the votes and credit is due for that. However, Johnson Smith as minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade should have known better than to allow herself to be used by a foreign government, especially one led by a controversial and unpopular leader like Boris Johnson.

PM Johnson’s popularity is at an all-time low, he lacks credibility and this should have been the first warning sign.


I reject the notion that Lady Scotland is corrupt and a fraud. There would’ve been serious consequences if this was the case and Scotland would not have survived six years in office.

Johnson Smith did not discuss the issues she had with Scotland’s leadership and why she felt the need to replace her as the Caribbean candidate.

Johnson Smith must now come clean with full disclosure about the campaign funding. I believe Johnson Smith might have received more support if she showed less arrogance and more humility.

In her first statement after the elections, she said that God did not want her to leave Jamaica. Maybe God didn’t want her to become secretary general! Before the election she boasted about having enough commitments for a convincing win! It is one thing to be confident, but overconfidence is another matter.

Much is unknown when dealing with countries spread far across geographic zones; there are cultural differences, and humility and diplomacy matter most.

There are many lessons to learn from the failed bid about leadership and our foreign affairs policy and strategies. How can you agree to support a unified position within CARICOM in one instance, then shortly after, break away by doing the opposite? How can you be respected by peers in the region when such arrogance and disruptive behaviour is displayed, driven by self-interests?

We should never allow a foreign country to use us like this again. This defies our sense of independence, sovereignty and purpose.