A delegation from the Virgin Islands (VI) travelled to the United Kingdom (UK) to engage in constructive interparliamentary discussions with key individuals within Parliament.
The high-level delegation, led by the Speaker of the House of Assembly of the Virgin Islands, Honourable Corine George-Massicote, comprised key figures from the VI’s political landscape, including the Minister for Communications and Works, Honourable Kye M. Rymer; Leader of the Opposition, Honourable Ronnie W. Skelton; Attorney General, Honourable Dawn J. Smith; Member for the Third District, Honourable Julian Fraser and Member for the Eighth District, Honourable Marlon Penn. The group was also accompanied by the Clerk of the House of Assembly, Ms. Phyllis Evans; Public Relations Officer, Mr. Linton V. Leonard and the Acting Director of the BVI London Office, Ms. Tracy Bradshaw.
The delegation undertook a momentous mission to the UK on a collaborative journey to strengthen interparliamentary relations and modernise the House of Assembly.
Throughout their visit, the VI delegation sought to foster stronger ties with UK counterparts, making strides to enhance collaboration, exchange best practices, and promote mutual understanding in various parliamentary matters. The delegation held a series of crucial meetings hosted at the House of Commons, with the gracious support of the Interparliamentary Relations Office.
The delegation’s visit got underway with an initial meeting with Speaker George-Massicote and the UK House Speaker, Honourable Lindsay Hoyle. This momentous encounter paved the way for in-depth discussions on vital matters concerning parliamentary affairs, governance, and interparliamentary cooperation.
In a true spirit of open dialogue and shared objectives, the interactive meetings covered a wide range of topics that included:
The Standing Orders: Deliberations on the establishment and implementation of Standing Orders, which form the bedrock of parliamentary procedures and ensure an efficient legislative process. These discussions also included the reformation of the VI’s existing Standing Orders to meet the evolving needs of its parliament.
Digital Transformation: Exploring the digital advancements in parliamentary operations and the incorporation of technology to improve transparency, accessibility, and efficiency.
Bill Committees: Understanding the essential role of Bill Committees in scrutinising legislation and facilitating comprehensive deliberations on proposed bills.
The Interparliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) – How it Works: Gaining valuable insights into the functioning of IPSA and its significance in maintaining parliamentary integrity and good governance.
The Role of the UK’s Governance Office: Addressing the pivotal role of the Governance Office in promoting transparency, accountability, and good governance within the parliamentary framework.
The productive exchanges between the VI delegation and their UK counterparts underscored a mutual commitment to bolstering interparliamentary cooperation, sharing expertise, and learning from each other’s experiences. All present expressed optimism that these discussions will lay the foundation for a strengthened partnership, further promoting the democratic values and principles that unite the VI and the UK.
Upon the delegation’s return to the VI, the insights gained from this mission will be instrumental in furthering the Territory’s parliamentary practices and enhancing governance mechanisms, commencing with this Fifth House of Assembly.