On Monday December 14th, students of the Vieille Case Primary School ceremoniously folded away their old school flag to reveal a new flag which bears the new name bestowed on their school.
The Baroness Patricia Scotland Primary School is what the school will be called in honour of the Commonwealth Secretary General- Elect, Baroness Patricia Scotland.
The Dominican-born Baroness of Asthal, who left the island at the tender age of two, expressed deep gratitude for the honour.
“It is a huge honour to me that here is Vieille Case where my family is from that the people of Dominica have chosen to honour me and you could not have given me a greater honour.
Can I thank you from the bottom of my hearty and say what mama would say to me, ‘I hope Bon Dieu ba’w la force et courage pou feh ça ou ni pou feh, ça il vlé feh ka il vlé’w feh si Il vlé feh.’”
[I hope God gives you the strength and courage to what you need to do, what He wants done when He wants you to do it if He wants.]
Prime Minister the Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit, who is also the Parliamentary Representative for the Vieille Case Constituency had several words of commendation for the Baroness and her myriad of achievements.
Prime Minister Skerrit who stood steadfastly behind the candidacy of the Baroness says he knew she had what it required to win the post of Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations
“A few weeks ago,” he said, “during a Regular Meeting of Heads of Government of Eastern Caribbean States, the issue of the campaign…was raised. Several persons in attendance were zooming in and focusing on this matter for the very first time. I had been intricately involved in the process for over a year.
“I remind you, ladies and gentlemen, that Baroness Scotland was the first named candidate in the run-up to this election. I knew at every step along the way where the campaign was and what specifically was needed to gain her the victory which was required.
“By extension therefore, I also knew where along the journey other candidates were and what they also would have required to secure a victory.
“I believe that I have contested enough elections in Dominica and elsewhere to assess the might and capacity of a candidate.”
He said to the Baroness, “You and your team have run an excellent campaign. I was never in doubt about your capacity to win. Indeed, my confidence in your ultimate success was fortified when it was shown to me days in advance of the meeting in Malta that you had a clear 50% of eligible votes secured safely in the corner of Dominica.
Meantime Baroness Scotland diffused talk about her nationality, proudly defending her Dominican heritage.
“The pride I feel in having been chosen to be your candidate knows no bounds because many people thought I would want to be chosen as the British candidate but I was never British. Dominica has had my soul my whole life.
“When I entered my mother and father’s home, I was home and that home was here. They made sure that we understood our culture and spoke our language and understood who we were.”
The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth will take up her new post in April 2016.