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THA Chief Secretary: Parliamentary activity must be transparent
Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly Kelvin Charles says Parliament must have a high level of accountability and transparency.
He made this statement during the opening ceremony of the 18th Biennial Conference of Presiding Officers and Clerks of the Caribbean, Americas and Atlantic Region of the Commonwealth at the Magdalena Grand Golf and Beach Resort on August 14.
Delegates representing 15 different territories spent four days in Tobago discussing this year’s theme ‘Parliamentary Accountability and Governance - Comparing Institutional Designs’.
Charles said, “the public must be well informed on initiatives and actions taken by their Parliaments to ensure that proper procedure is followed in all aspects of public life and procedure.”
He urged member states to partner with various groups such as media, business sector and average man on the street to improve the level of communication. “This will increase transparency to maintain the highest levels of accountability,” the Chief Secretary said.
During the welcome address, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Bridgid Annisette-George provided some insight into what was being discussed at the conference.
“Committee systems in small parliaments; meeting the challenges parliamentary leadership, strengthening accountability improving relationships between parliament and society, strategic planning a starting point for building effective parliaments and the inadequacy of legislative support for the management of the legislative branch in small island states.”
Presiding Officer - Tobago House of Assembly -Dr. Denise Tsoiafatt Angus said another element of the discussion entailed focusing on engaging the youth.
“We have to speak to a younger audience as they are the future and it’s not enough for us to continue speaking to ourselves.”
Adding: “...Being able to reach the young people to inform and educate them about their future lives ...to hear from them what they consider their future to be.”
She congratulated the delegates for making the effort to attend the conference and noted that it also provided the opportunity for them to network and experience Tobago.