17TH BIENNIAL CONFERENCE OF PRESIDING OFFICERS AND CLERKS OF THE CARIBBEAN, THE AMERICAS AND THE ATLANTIC REGION OF THE COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY ASSOCIATION HELD IN HAMILTON BERMUDA FROM THE 25TH - 29TH OCTOBER 2015.
Hon Josephine Connolly Deputy Speaker of The House of Assembly Turks and Caicos along with the Clerk Mrs. Tracey Parker, were among 12 other Caribbean countries who attended the 17th Biennial Conference of Presiding Officers and Clerks of the Caribbean, the Americas and the Atlantic Region of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association held in Hamilton Bermuda from the 25th to 29th October 2015.
The theme of the conference was "Relevance of Parliament in Today's Society”. Each country was assigned a topic for the conference. Topics include
i. “The Role of the Speaker: Initiating Strategies and Outreach Programmes to enable the Public to understand his/her Role and Responsibilities.” By –TTrinidad &Cayman Islands.
ii. “Is Adversarial Politics sustainable in Small Islands: Implementing successful Strategies in managing contentious house debates to protect the integrity of Parliament”. By Jamaica & St. Kitt’s & Nevis.
iii. “The Role of Social Media inside and outside the Chamber: Promoting Youth Engagement and Interaction with Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s).” By Barbados & Turks and Caicos.
iv. “The Critical role and effectiveness of Parliamentary Committees in smaller Legislatures: What are some of the benefits and challenges.” –by Bermuda & Bahamas
v. “Building the professional capacity of Parliamentarians: Strengthening and enhancing the basic fundamentals of parliamentary procedure and the importance of fostering partnerships with each other.” By–Guyana & Anguilla
vi. Developing Codes of Conduct and Conflicts of Interest mechanisms to improve good governance, accountability and public confidence.”–by St. Lucia &Montserrat
Hon. Connolly spoke on the topic "Does social media have a place both inside and outside the Chamber: promoting youth engagement and intersectionwith civil society Organization" which she said was well received. “The conference was informative and very useful and I learnt a lot from my Caribbean colleagues".
There was also a special meeting held for Clerks which Mrs Tracey Parker, Clerk of the House of Assembly found useful and rewarding. Mrs Parker said; “The establishment of an Association of Clerks for the region will be a tremendous benefit to all Clerks within the region as it speaks to training and networking among colleagues."
“I firmly believe that this Association will play a critical role in the sound governance of our country as it speaks to professionalism and impartiality displayed by Clerk’s and how vital it is to the smooth conduct and development of parliament."