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Baroness Scotland marks first day as head of Commonwealth


BARONESS PATRICIA Scotland marked her first day as Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations with a special ceremony in London.

To the rhythm of a steel band, the sound of a gospel choir, and the flair of Quadrille dancers, hundreds of guests welcomed the new Secretary-General at the Commonwealth Secretariat’s headquarters in Marlborough House.

Among those present were well-known figures from the world of politics, sports and broadcasting.

The event was hosted by former Tottenham Hotspurs striker Garth Crooks and included performances by M People singer Heather Small, tenor Franz Hepburn and actor Hugh Quarshie.

Addressing the audience during her first official address, Baroness Scotland outlined her vision for the Commonwealth.

She said: “I am determined that we are going to work together on tackling violence against women and girls, deal with the existential threat of climate change, promote trade and good governance, champion the health, well-being and human rights of our citizens, and ensure young people have the opportunities they need for the future.”

She highlighted tackling domestic violence as one of her top priorities, saying it was “literally stealing our futures” and that allowing women to be abused would hamper the wellbeing of societies.

Boosting Commonwealth trade and creating better opportunities for young people was also at the top of her agenda.
“I am confident that we can change things for the better. I want the Commonwealth to be a voice for everyone who shares our common values and hopes,” she said.

In her speech, she also described herself as “a classic child of the Commonwealth” - born in the Caribbean and brought up in London.

During her speech Baroness Scotland highlighted her journey of “firsts” - from the first black woman to join the Queen’s Counsel in the United Kingdom, the first woman to hold the position of UK Attorney General and the first woman Commonwealth Secretary-General.

However, she said she was “rather sad” at being first and looked forward to supporting new generations of female leaders.

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