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A Caribbean gathering

Thomas C. Famous. Photo: VINO/File
Thomas C. Famous

Recently,our sister Caribbean island of Grand Cayman served as the host for the 43rd Annual Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s (CPA) Caribbean, Americas and Atlantic (CAA) region conference. The conference ran from June 16th until June 23rd,2018.

A total of nearly 100 delegates, from almost the entire English-Speaking Caribbean region, flew into Grand Cayman.

Delegates in attendance were fromthe following countries:

  • Anguilla
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • Canada
  • Cayman Islands
  • Cuba
  • Dominica
  • Guyana
  • Isle of Man
  • Jamaica
  • Montserrat
  • St. Christopher and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turks and Caicos
  • United Kingdom
  • Virgin Islands

(insert picture of delegates)

The conference was spread out over the course of 6 days to accommodate a total of 8 different sessions.

  • Caribbean Women Parliamentarians (CWP), held on June 16th and June 17th

which focused on Women’ issues.

  • Caribbean, Americas and Atlantic region Parliamentarians, held June 18th- June 20th which encompassed all Parliamentarians.
  • Caribbean Youth Parliamentarians debate on Brexit held on June 22nd

Interestingly, and most fittingly, the CWP session on “Women and Political parties in small states of the Commonwealth Caribbean” was for women only. Therefore, I am unable to give any report on that aspect. Bermuda’s two representatives were; Junior Minister for Disabilities, Tinee Furbert JP MP and Susan Jackson JP MP. The VI representatives were Speaker of the House Hon. Ingrid Moses-Scatcliffe and Hon. Alvera Maduro-Caines.

Without a doubt, they represented the women of Bermuda and VI extremely well.

 

Plenary sessions

During the main conference there were four representatives for Bermuda; Speaker of the House Hon. Dennis Lister JP MP, Susan Jackson, Tinee Furbert and myself.

The first two Plenary sessions were on the following topics; “Relevant security systems for Government entities including parliamentarians” and “Relevant Education systems to build the economies of small developing states.”

Security

During the session on security, which was Moderated by Hon. IngridMoses-Scatcliffe, the three presenters were as follows; Sir Lindsay Hoyle- Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons-UK, Hon. Brigid Annisette-George-Speaker of the House of Parliament- Trinidad, Senator Kerensia Morrison-Jamaica.

During the first presentation of the session Deputy Speaker Hoyle spoke of the security measures put in place to protect the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the UK Parliament. Included in their security measures were:

  • Armed police
  • All mail opened to check for powder substance
  • All food double checked
  • Water barriers to prevent persons crossing the moat

Speaker Annisette-George of Trinidad spoke of the experience that happened in her country during the Jamaat al Muslimeen coup attempt of July 1990 where armed terrorist stormed the House of Parliament and took MPs hostage.

(insert picture of 1990 coup)

Since which, the government has now put in place extensive amounts of security measures to protect both parliament and parliamentarians. Most notable was the formation of a Parliament Police Unit (PPU). This unit of 150 officers is designated with the singular task of protecting elected officials.

Essentially,equivalent to the Secret Service in the United States.

Comparatively speaking, here in Bermuda, we only have one unarmed officer stationed in the House of Assembly.

Education

During the session on education the presenters were; Mr. Raymond Ivany-former President of Acadia University, Hon. Shirley Osbourne Speaker of Montserrat and Hon. Alincia Williams-Grant-President of the Senate for Antigua and Barbuda.

During this session, each presenter spoke from a slightly different perspective about ensuring that the Caribbean continues to develop a regional plan. A plan that not only increases the level of education but ensures that the curriculums are suited to what the region will need in the coming decades.

A prime example given was that as more and more persons are installing climate control units in their homes we must ensure that we have adequate amounts of persons trained in those relevant fields.

Governor’s House

At the end of the first day’s session we left the conference room we were taken to a reception at Government House.

Now, in the Bermuda context, Government House in essentially a castle that sits on multiple acres and is extremely well guarded by armed officers. Interestingly enough, in the Caymanian setting, Government House is a modest single level house that sits next to the beach.

Basically, anyone walking on the beach can wave at the Governor and his guests.

Even more interestingly, the Acting Governor was a born and bred Caymanian Mr. Franz Manderson.

In upcoming pieces,we will look at the other two Plenary sessions; relevant population growth and the effects of de-globalization.

I can assure you that you will want to hear about these sessions.

 

 

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