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Jamaica’s Commonwealth Secretary General Campaign Clean, Transparent, Principled

Jamaica’s Commonwealth Secretary General Campaign Clean, Transparent, Principled

In fulfillment of our public commitment to transparency and accountability, the  Government has compiled expenditure related to Jamaica’s candidature campaign for the post of Commonwealth Secretary General.

The campaign was efficiently conducted and utilized the existing channels and resources, including already established travel plans and engagements. This significantly minimized, additional and direct expenditure from the Budget for the campaign.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith was offered as Jamaica’s candidate for the post and her candidature launched in London, England in April 2022. There was some assistance for this event from corporate Jamaica.

The Minister made strategic use of the opportunities offered by impending official engagements, to carry out lobbying activities.  In that regard, in her capacity as Foreign MinisterMinister Johnson Smith attended meetings of the Economic and Social Council (United Nations, New York, April 2022); the CARICOM Agri-Investment Forum & Expo (Guyana, May 2022); the 12th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (United Nations, Geneva, June 2022) and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Rwanda, June 2022).

Additionally, Minister Johnson Smith was able to meet with Heads of Government and counterpart Ministers on the margins of these programmed activities, to conduct the work of the Jamaican delegation, and simultaneously, to promote the candidature.  This is standard operation in international organisations, particularly by small states like Jamaica, which are conscious of the need to capitalize on these avenues to conduct international relations, in order to minimize costs.

A dedicated and intensive travel schedule was pursued specifically across the continent of Africa spanning seven countries (eight governments) in 10 days.  This was seen as critical in the campaign efforts, as the continent includes 19 member countries of the Commonwealth.

Having regard to the usual outlays associated with the lobbying activities for high-level candidatures, the campaign team was careful in its approach to the use of Government funds, and for the period, it expended a total of J$18,267,575.07 for the purpose.  This accounts for expenses related to air and ground transportation, COVID-19 tests, meals and accommodation, PR/Communications support activities for staging of events such as the launch and engagements with delegations (IT support, printing of documents, photography, food and beverages).

Jamaica has routinely fielded delegations to the Commonwealth Heads meeting, even without Jamaica’s candidature for the post of Secretary General. The costs for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, were absorbed within relevant participating Ministries: Office of the Prime Minister $12,827,897; Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade $7,715,585.37; and Ministry of Tourism $5,131,386.00.

As revealed through public declarations, FINN Partners provided public relations, media relations and thought leadership services for Jamaica’s candidature for the post of Commonwealth Secretary General.  The government of Jamaica was not a party to this arrangement which was secured by corporate Jamaica.

The Government of Jamaica ran a clean, transparent, principled campaign that met the standards of accountability.

Despite not having won, Jamaica garnered significant and widespread international support. The contacts made and the opportunities to share views and secure understanding on issues of common concern have served to strengthen bilateral relations and further enhance Jamaica’s reputation as a strong voice on the international stage.