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Women vie to lead CARICOM; Guyana to assess nominees before voting for the new Secretary General

L-R Ambassador Manorma Soeknandan, Dr Carla Barnett and Dr June Soomer of St Lucia.

Guyana will be evaluating the nominees for the next Secretary General of Caricom, President Irfaan Ali said on Monday.

Officially, two nominees have been named, Ambassador Manorma Soeknandan, Deputy Secretary General of Caricom and Former Deputy Secretary General Dr Carla Barnett of Belize. Sources say that Dr June Soomer of St Lucia could be announced as another nominee soon.

“We would have to evaluate the candidates and make a decision,”  President Ali told members of the media on Monday when asked if he is likely to support Suriname’s candidate.

He said the Guyana government did not have a “position” on the two official nominees but said that when the first one, Dr Barnett’s nomination, was received, he had spoken to the Prime Minister of Belize saying that Guyana would have to “evaluate” this nomination.

President Ali said it was a month after he took office that he received a request from Belize to support Dr Barnett.

“That was the only request up to the last heads of government meeting, when the matter was raised, the Chairman of Caricom said let us open up for more nominations, we have only recently received this new additional nomination.”

This is the first time in the history of Caricom that three women would be vying for the post of Secretary General.

The Secretary General is appointed by the Conference of the Heads of Government on recommendations of the Community Council of Ministers.

A Special Meeting of the Community Council of Ministers is expected to be convened sometime this month to consider the nominations.

That meeting would determine the recommendations to the Heads of Government. A Special Heads of Government is to be scheduled for either the end of April or early May.