Port-of-Spain, Jan 10 (IANS) An Indian delegation led by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar is here to attend a parliamentary conference of speakers and presiding officers from the Commonwealth states.
Speaker and presiding officers from over 50 Commonwealth states are meeting in Port-of-Spain to establish closer links with the peoples in their respective nations.
The meeting, taking place at the Hyatt Regency, began Monday and will address — The role of Parliament diplomacy in the era of globalisation; Executive Accountability: Oversight Role of Parliament; Emerging new challenges for speakers: Multiplicity chambers and minority and coalition governments: and Parliamentary service and its management: Strengthening the Independence of Parliament.
President of Trinidad and Tobago, George Maxwell Richards in his address said that while it was the responsibility of the speaker and presiding officer to ensure rules were abided by members to ensure order in the respective chambers, that must not be their principal objective.
Richards said the parliament’s oversight role was critical to the governance structure in democratic Commonwealth nations.
The parliament must be more than ‘arenas in which the cut-and-thrust of politics is played to audiences, supportive or otherwise’, he added
Earlier, acting Prime Minister Winston Dookeran said that the time had come to reconnect the parliament with people.
He said citizens were demanding greater participation in the democratic process.
‘Let us so strengthen our parliamentary systems and raise the level of awareness and effectiveness of parliamentary process that our constituents will look at Parliament with honour and respect as the champion of democracy,’ he added.
He said that thrust to reconnect with the people was already underway in many parliaments across the Commonwealth, adding that the conference would establish ‘new ideas, practices and connectivity in the parliamentary process’.
(Paras Ramoutar can be contacted at [email protected])