Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE is encouraging Commonwealth parliamentarians to continue to unite to achieve regional success on a range of common issues affecting representative countries.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 40th Annual Conference of the Caribbean, Americas, and the Atlantic Region of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Premier Smith stated, “As a collective body, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association affords us the opportunity to come together to engage in different discussions because it is important that we grapple with and brainstorm on unified approaches to building resilient democratic economies, whether politically, socially or economically.”
Premier Smith said that it was important for the countries represented to raise common or unique issues, and instead of reinventing the wheel, build on each other’s models and tweak it so that it works for the various Commonwealth countries.
“We are all attuned to the essential elements of democracy in the Commonwealth, like the rule of law, independence of the judiciary, freedom of expression, the right to vote freely transparency and accountability. Make no mistake, democracy plays a vital role in institutional strengthening, economic diversification, and supporting public participation,” said Premier Smith.
The Honourable Premier added, “This regional conference of CPA highlights unique unity among its participation. That spirit of unity is evident with us gathering to promote knowledge about how the legislative, economic, social and cultural aspects of parliamentary democracy can improve the lives of those who elected us to lead. For all of us we should be learning and progressing our economies together to improve the lives of our citizens.”
The Premier reminded the representatives gathered that as Commonwealth countries, that the collective strength has always been shared values, principles and working through the collective voice of Caribbean institutions such as the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), CARICOM, the University of the West Indies and even the CPA.
The 40th Annual Conference is being hosted in the Virgin Islands from July 25 to August 1 under the theme ‘Promoting Democracy and Good Governance: A Unified Approach’. It includes the Regional Executive Committee Meeting, Plenary Sessions, the Annual General Meeting and the Regional Youth Parliament.
Member States of the CPA are Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts, Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
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