NASSAU, The Bahamas — The Bahamas Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) is set to host the 41st Regional Conference of The Caribbean, Americas and Atlantic Region.
“This year marks 287 years of Parliamentary democracy, 49 years of majority rule and on July 10th, 43 years as a sovereign nation,” Speaker of The Bahamas House of Assembly the Hon. Dr. Kendal Major said, at a press conference, Wednesday, at the House of Assembly, announcing the upcoming event.
“I am delighted to serve as Conference Chairman,” Speaker Major added. “Mr. Maurice Tynes, Chief Clerk, will serve as Conference Coordinator; Mr. David Forbes – Deputy Coordinator and Chair of Youth Parliament; and Mr. Anthony Forbes- Conference Secretariat. The Hon Glenys Hanna Martin serves as Chair and will serve as host of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Conference.”
Speaker Major pointed out that the international conference is slated to be held at the Coral Towers, Atlantis, Paradise Island, July 22-30, 2016.
The theme of the Conference is “Modernization: An Essential Element for the Independence of Parliament and the Deepening of Democracy.
“This Regional Conference will also attract several meetings within this Conference,” Speaker Major said.
The 10th Regional Conference of Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians, he said, is to be held July 23rd.
“The Regional Executive Committee Meeting will be held July 24th, the Annual General Meeting on July 27th and the Regional Youth Parliament on July 29th,” he added.
Speaker Major noted: “Carefully chosen topics from local and international presenters will speak on areas such as ‘The Separation of Powers: the Critical Component to the Proper Functioning of Parliament’, ‘Modern Rules of Procedure for Parliamentary Practice’, ‘The Modern Parliament and the Role of its Committee’, ‘Freedom of Information in a Modern Parliament’, and ‘Holding the Executive Accountable – Parliament’s Prerogative’.”
He announced that a number of topics are slated for discussion in the Women’s Conference, inclusive of “Women in Political Leadership: Why Does it Matter?” “Violence: An Impediment to Women’s Political Leadership Within the Region” and “Perceptions of the Role of Women in Society and Their Effect on Women’s Political Leadership within the Region”.
“We are particularly delighted to welcome the Secretary General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Mr. Akbar Khan, to be with us and deliver the keynote address at the Plenary Session,” Speaker Major said. “Mr. Khan is the 7th Secretary General of the CPA.”
Speaker Major added that Mr. Khan was appointed by the 61st General Assembly of CPA upon the recommendation of the International Executive Committee, made up of representatives of nine regions of the CPA — Africa, Asia, Australia, British Islands and Mediterranean, Canada, Caribbean, Americas and Atlantic, India, Pacific and South East Asia.
The CPA, Speaker Major said, was founded in 1911 and is a membership association which brings together Parliamentarians, Clerks and Parliamentary staffs, irrespective of gender, race, religion or culture, united by a community of interest, respect for the rule of law and individual rights and freedoms.
“Additionally, it’s the CPA’s mandate to pursue the ideals of parliamentary democracy,” he added. “The association is made up of 180 Branches across the nine regions of the Commonwealth.”
Meetings like these afford Parliamentarians and Staff opportunities to collaborate and contribute to developing viable solutions to the many issues that face small legislatures, he pointed out.
“We, therefore, now invite the Press and particularly Parliamentarians to participate fully in these deliberations and make a significant contribution to the development of our Region,” Speaker Major said.