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Commonwealth Day on Monday


Commonwealth Day on Monday

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LONDON – The embattled Commonwealth Secretary General, Dame Patricia Scotland, has sought to re-affirm the strength of the 54 member grouping as it observes Commonwealth Day on Monday.

“Our great strength as a family of nations, and of peoples growing together organically, is our ability to evolve and adjust to changing circumstances – whether in the field of human rights, democracy or trade,” she said in a message to mark the occasion.

“An impressive example of how our member countries come together to pool knowledge and resources which deliver transformational change through innovation is the Commonwealth Blue Charter. It provides a dynamic framework within which our member countries commit to working together on ocean health and to use marine resources in sustainable ways,” she added.

Scotland has had to defend her track record amid reports that she may not be granted an automatic second term when her current term ends in March.

patricia-scotlandLast month, Britain suspended its funding for the Commonwealth Secretariat after Baroness Scotland (left) was criticised by internal auditors for awarding a lucrative consultancy contract to a company run by a friend.

Auditors also said that the Secretariat waived procurement rules no less than on 50 occasions over a three-year period.

However she told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that “there are a number of misconceptions and it is very unfortunate that a number of stories have been posted which are inaccurate and fallacious”.

She maintained that the proper procedure was followed when the contract was awarded to fellow Labour peer Lord Patel.

A statement issued by the London-based Commonwealth Secretariat said that celebrations and events will be held around the world on Monday, to mark Commonwealth Day and that this year’s event is centred on the theme ‘Delivering a Common Future’, highlighting how the 54 member countries in the Commonwealth family are ‘innovating, connecting and transforming’ to help achieve some of its biggest goals – such as protecting natural resources and boosting trade.

“Events to mark the occasion will take place across five continents with the Commonwealth’s 2.4 billion citizens enjoying flag parades, church services, poetry mornings, dance performances and much more.”

In a message, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, who is the head the Commonwealth, touches on the theme of connectivity, mentioning how “advances in technology and modern media have now enabled many more people to witness and enjoy – with remarkable immediacy – the experience of Commonwealth connection, in areas such as education, medicine and conservation.”

“On this Commonwealth Day I hope that the people and countries of the Commonwealth will be inspired by all that we share, and move forward with fresh resolve to enhance the Commonwealth’s influence for good in our world.”

The Queen will join the Secretary-General at Westminster Abbey for a multi-faith service to celebrate the day. (CMC)