Falklands attends Overseas Territories Speakers’ Conference
The 2nd Commons and Overseas Territories Speakers’ Conference (COTSC) has been held at the Anguilla House of Assembly from 3 to 5 April 2023 on the theme of ‘Deepening Parliamentary Democracy in the British Overseas Territories – A Roadmap to 2030’. Falklands was represented by Keith Biles, Speaker for the Legislative Assembly.
The conference was hosted by the Speaker of the Anguilla House of Assembly, Hon. Barbara Webster-Bourne and was supported by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. Speaker Webster-Bourne is also the CPA Small Branches Vice-Chairperson.
Commonwealth Speakers and representatives attended from Anguilla, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Montserrat, St. Helena, Turks and Caicos and Gibraltar as well as from United Kingdom.
The conference continued the discussions at the inaugural COTSC hosted by Rt Hon. Sir Lindsay Hoyle, MP, Speaker of the UK House of Commons in the UK last year, where it was noted that well-structured and resourced Legislatures are essential to a vibrant democracy in the Overseas Territories.
At this year’s conference, the Speakers, alongside Parliamentary Clerks and constitutional experts, examined different aspects of building strong Legislatures and effective parliamentary democracy. Over a series of sessions, deliberations provided a roadmap to deepen parliamentary democracy and support good governance in each Overseas Territory.
The CPA Headquarters’ Head of Programmes, Matthew Salik also presented on the CPA’s Democratic Benchmarks and Model Law for Parliaments and Model Law for Parliaments which provide frameworks for excellence in Commonwealth parliamentary and legislative practice.
A full communiqué from the 2nd Commons and Overseas Territories Speakers’ Conference (COTSC) 2023 is available.
Speakers and Presiding Officers attending included:
Hon. Barbara Webster-Bourne, Speaker of the Anguilla House of Assembly
Hon. Dennis P. Lister, JP, MP, Speaker of the Bermuda House of Assembly
Hon. Katherine Wilks, MP, Speaker of the Cayman Islands Parliament
Hon. Keith Biles, JP, MLA, Speaker of the Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly
Hon. Charliena White, Speaker of the Montserrat Legislative Assembly
Hon. Cyril Gunnell, MLC, Speaker of the St Helena Legislative Council
Hon. Gordon Burton, MHA, Speaker of the Turks and Caicos House of Assembly
Rt Hon. Sir Lindsay Hoyle, MP, Speaker of the UK House of Commons
All the Legislatures attending are Branches of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association across two of the CPA’s Regions – the CPA British Islands and Mediterranean Region and the CPA Caribbean, Americas and the Atlantic Region.