Parliamentarians in Bermuda aim to strengthen parliamentary democracy at Commonwealth Parliamentary Association seminar  

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) has helped strengthen parliamentary practice and procedure for Members of the Parliament of Bermuda with a CPA Parliamentary Strengthening Seminar from 1 to 2 May 2019. The CPA seminar in Hamilton, Bermuda was held to enable current and recently elected Parliamentarians to gain a broader understanding of the principles of parliamentary democracy across the Commonwealth and to strengthen their skillsets. 

The Parliament of Bermuda is made up of thirty-six elected Members in the House of Assembly and eleven appointed Senators in the Senate. It is located on a small island archipelago with a population of around 64,000 people that is a self-governing British Overseas Territory. Bermuda last held transparent, free and fair elections in 2017 with a 73% voter turnout which demonstrated the island’s commitment to the democratic ideals enshrined in the Commonwealth Charter. 

The CPA Bermuda Branch is one of the smallest legislatures in the CPA’s membership of over 180 Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures. The CPA is the only Commonwealth body that works to strengthen small territorial legislatures in the British Overseas Territories like Bermuda as well as working with larger national, state and provincial legislatures. The CPA Parliamentary Strengthening Seminar gave Members of the Parliament of Bermuda an excellent opportunity to learn about parliamentary practice and procedure and to gain a better understanding of the parliamentary system and democratic processes in other Commonwealth jurisdictions. The seminar was opened by Hon. Dennis Lister, JP, MP, Speaker of the Bermuda House of Assembly; Hon. Senator Mrs Kathy Lynn Simmons, JP, Attorney-General and Minister of Legal Affairs of Bermuda; and the CPA Secretary-General, Mr Akbar Khan

Hon. Dennis Lister, JP, MP, Speaker of the Bermuda House of Assembly and CPA Bermuda Branch President said at the opening of the seminar: “This CPA Parliamentary Strengthening Seminar is an example of the many benefits that are available to Parliaments within the Commonwealth. It's the mandate of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association to develop, promote and support Parliamentarians and their staff to identify benchmarks of good governance. We must continue to evolve a modern democracy so when future Parliamentarians look back at this time, they can clearly see the improvements we are making today.” Please click here to read the Speaker’s opening address.

The CPA Secretary-General said: “The CPA is pleased to partner with the Parliament of Bermuda to support the strengthening of democratic governance in one of the smallest legislatures in our Commonwealth. The CPA Parliamentary Strengthening Seminar demonstrates the CPA’s commitment to the CPA Small Branches in the Overseas Territories and to the mutuality of learning among CPA Members. We must always seek opportunities to strengthen Parliament, nurture public trust in the institution and build the capacity of its Parliamentarians through programmes like this CPA Parliamentary Strengthening Seminar.” Please click here or visit www.cpahq.org/cpahq/sgspeeches to read the Secretary-General’s opening address.

To read the speech given by Hon. Senator Mrs Kathy Lynn Simmons, JP, Attorney-General and Minister of Legal Affairs of Bermuda at the opening of the seminar please click here.

The CPA Secretary-General also highlighted the work of the Parliament of Bermuda in developing the original CPA Recommended Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures in 2006 and the ongoing engagement of the Parliament in this vital parliamentary tool. The Members of the Parliament of Bermuda heard from experts from across the Commonwealth at the CPA Parliamentary Strengthening Seminar including: the CPA Small Branches Chairperson, Hon. Angelo Farrugia, MP, Speaker of the House of Representatives of Malta; Hon. Shirley Osborne, MLA, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Montserrat; Mrs Jacqui Sampson-Meiguel, Clerk of the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago and CPA Branch Secretary; and Mr Paul Belisle, former Clerk of the Senate of Canada; as well as local Members and officials from Bermuda.

Members attended workshop sessions on a wide variety of topics including: the Separation of Power and the relationship between the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary; Administration and Financing of Parliament; Parliament, Democracy and Civil Society; the role of Members of Parliament, Senators and Backbenchers; Practice and Procedure in the House; Parliamentary Committees; Ethics and Accountability of Members of the Legislature; and Parliament and Social Media: Is it a menace or benefit for Democracy and Parliament?

The CPA Secretary-General, Mr Akbar Khan also met with the Governor of Bermuda, John Rankin CMG and Hon. E. David Burt, JP, MP, Premier of Bermuda to discuss CPA parliamentary strengthening programmes in the Commonwealth.

For images of the CPA Parliamentary Strengthening Seminar Bermuda please click here or visit www.cpahq.org/cpahq/flickr.

-Ends-

Images: copyright Parliament of Bermuda.

Updated 3 May 2019.

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association connects, develops, promotes and supports Parliamentarians and their staff to identify benchmarks of good governance and the implementation of the enduring values of the Commonwealth. The CPA is an international community of around 180 Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures working together to deepen the Commonwealth’s commitment to the highest standards of democratic governance. 
 
For further information about the CPA, please contact:

Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
CPA Headquarters Secretariat  
T: +44 (0)20 7799 1460
Email hq.sec@cpahq.org
For media enquiries, please contact communications@cpahq.org