|Parliamentarians attend first training conclave|
|Friday, 27 July 2012 07:02|
NASSAU, The Bahamas – Members of the House of Assembly representing the Opposition and Government participated in a training conclave, the first in a series of events designed to improve the life of Parliament.
The one-day conclave on July 26 at the British Colonial Hilton focused on topics including ethical standards for Parliamentarians, Parliamentary decorum, the role of the Presiding Officer and Opposition and protocol procedures. The theme for the event was “Equipping Parliamentarians for a Changing World”.
Presenters included Sean McWeeney, former Senator and Attorney General; Cynthia Pratt, former Deputy Prime Minister; Sir Arlington Butler, former Speaker of the House of Assembly; Theresa Moxey-Ingraham, former Member of Parliament; Eugenia Cartwright, Treasurer; Maurice Tynes, Chief Clerk; Leon Rahming, Assistant Clerk; Anthony Forbes, Editor of the Hansard; and David Forbes, Executive Officer. The Hon. Hubert Minnis, Leader of the Opposition and the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance gave remarks.House Speaker the Hon. Dr. Kendal Major said the specific intention for the conclave was to be edified and inspired to serve with greater understanding and wisdom. He said to be “equipped” as Parliamentarians, it is imperative for them to continue to explore new horizons that seek to strengthen their hope and resolve.
“This training conclave is designed to set the stage for further interventions geared toward improving the life of the Parliament through thoughtful, practical and progressive information that propels our Parliament to a new dimension.
The Speaker revealed that he and staff of the House of Assembly are making preparations to attend the 58th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference to be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka from September 7 to 15, 2012.
He listed several recommendations that he has adopted for Parliament. Among them are the following:
Prime Minister Christie suggested that Parliamentarians should begin the process of examining whether the physical premises are suited to today’s Bahamas and whether or not there should be a commitment to a new Parliament.
“Obviously history is important to a country and to be able to show longevity in one place makes it easier for us to communicate the history of our parliamentary government,” he said.
“There comes a time in a Parliament that you have to challenge yourself to ensure that you are taking the steps necessary to have all of the modern conveniences available to you in that parliament.”
He said Parliamentarians should examine public disclosure laws with a view to determining whether or not they are what they ought to be regarding real accountability in parliament.
He suggested that the challenge is for House members to look at Parliaments in the United Kingdom, Barbados and Canada, to see how they are interpreting their own requirements for accountability and translating that into law.
Everything about the country’s parliamentary democracy must be in the context that it is a living organism, changing and being refashioned to serve the best interest of the country.Photo 1: Former House Speaker Sir Arlington Butler, left, is pictured with former Senator and Attorney General Sean McWeeney, centre, and Senator Cheryl Bazard. (BIS Photo / Peter Ramsay)
Photo 2: Rev. Dr. Cynthia ‘Mother’ Pratt, former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security in conversation with Deputy Speaker of the House Dion Smith. (BIS Photo / Peter Ramsay)
Photo 3: Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, left, enjoys a moment with Leader of the Opposition Dr. Hubert Minnis and the Member for Montagu Richard Lightbourn. (BIS Photo / Peter Ramsay)
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