The Speaker of the House of Assembly of the Virgin Islands, Honourable Julian Willock has led a delegation to a Parliamentary Conference in Kampala, Uganda.
On 22nd to 29th September 2019 the Parliament of Uganda hosted the 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) under the theme “Adaption, Engagement and Evolution of Parliaments in a Rapidly Changing Commonwealth”.
The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) week-long conference began with the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) Conference and continued with Plenary Sessions, the Executive Committee Meeting, workshops and then commenced with the Annual General Assembly. The CPC offers the prospect of the coming together of the CPA’s global membership of Parliamentarians and Parliamentary staff to address the critical issues facing today’s Parliaments.
The Speaker is accompanied by Junior Minister for Trade and Economic Development and Territorial Member, Honourable Sharie B. de Castro; Honourable Julian Fraser RA, Representative for the Third District; and Honourable Melvin M. Turnbull, Representative for the Second District. Also present at the conference were the Clerk of the House of Assembly, Mrs. Phyllis Evans and Secretary to Speaker Willock, Ms. June Smith-Bramble.
Honourable de Castro and Honourable Turnbull were selected to present at the Conference. Honourable Turnbull’s presentation was titled ‘Climate Change: Achievements, Challenges and Efficacy of Parliament Interventions’. In his presentation one of his key statements was, “Parliament must foster a dialog which will lead to mechanisms for building resilience of Small Island States adapting to Climate Change which adversely affects our GDP (gross domestic product).”
Honourable Turnbull made an appeal during his presentation when he said, “I am passionate about my country and the effects of climate change. Many of us have seen and even experienced these effects, however, if we fight together as decision and policy makers we will make a difference.”
Honourable De Castro’s presentation for the CWP was entitled ‘Promoting Women to Leadership Positions and Senior Portfolios’. In her presentation she said, “As women in politics our goal is to encourage innovation that embraces new ideas to age-old problems. To tackle the complex challenges, we must be realistic, we must face hard truths and we must devise new solutions.”
She concluded by saying, “I am confident that our collective abilities through the CWP network can create new pathways to help our countries, territories and regions navigate towards a successful economic future.”
Honourable Speaker Willock, who is attending his first CPA Conference said, “It is an honour and a privilege to be among some 200 plus Speakers and other parliamentarians from the Commonwealth countries, and other jurisdictions as we compare notes and strive to modernise our parliaments to foster democratic practices.”
The Speaker noted he also had the opportunity to meet the Uganda President His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni at a dinner for Speakers where he brought the President greetings from the House of Assembly and Premier Honourable Andrew A. Fahie.
The CPC is one of the largest gatherings of Commonwealth parliamentarians and is the flagship event that brings together over 500 Parliamentarians, parliamentary staff and decision makers from across the Commonwealth for this networking opportunity.
The CPA promotes its democratic deepening objectives through annual Commonwealth Parliamentary conferences, regional conferences, Parliamentary seminars and workshops, Parliamentary symposiums, Parliamentary publications and inter- parliamentary visits.
The CPA is headquartered in London, United Kingdom and the Secretariat is headed by a Secretary General who implements the policies of the Executive Committee, the body that is responsible for the control and management of the business of the Association. The General Assembly which meets at least twice annually is the Association’s supreme authority.
The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association is divided into nine commonwealth geographic regions: Africa, Asia, Australia, British Islands and Mediterranean, Canada, India, Pacific, South-East Asia and the Caribbean, America and Atlantic. The Bahamas is an active member of the Caribbean, Americas and Atlantic Region and last hosted the Regional Conference in the year 2000.