Commonwealth Parliamentary Association embeds good governance and democracy in St Helena, one of the remotest legislatures in the Commonwealth     

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) is helping to strengthen parliamentary practice and procedure for the St Helena Legislative Council following the recent elections in July 2017 when it held a CPA Post-Election Seminar newly elected Members. The CPA Post-Election Seminar in St Helena, the ‘Galapagos of the South Atlantic’, enabled recently elected Parliamentarians to gain a broader understanding of the principles of parliamentary democracy and strengthen their skillsets. One of the remotest legislatures in the CPA’s membership of over 180 Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures, the St Helena Legislature is in the British Overseas Territory located on a small island in the Atlantic Ocean with a population of 4,500 people. On 26 July 2017, St Helena held transparent, free and fair elections which demonstrated the island’s commitment to the democratic ideals and standards upon which the Commonwealth is founded and the ideals enshrined in the Commonwealth Charter. 

The CPA is the only Commonwealth body that works to strengthen territorial assemblies and legislatures such as the St Helena Legislature as well as working with national, state and provincial legislatures. The relationship between St Helena and the CPA is key in providing a platform to develop good parliamentary practice within the self-governing UK Overseas Territories and to share good practice with other similar legislatures across the Commonwealth. 

The CPA Post-Election Seminar saw Members of St Helena Legislative Council provided with an excellent opportunity to ask questions about parliamentary practice and procedure and provided Members with a better understanding of the parliamentary system and democratic processes in other Commonwealth jurisdictions. The seminar was opened by Hon. Eric Benjamin, MLC, Speaker of the Legislative Council of St Helena and Her Excellency Lisa Phillips, Governor of St Helena. Commitment to improving democratic processes in the legislature was demonstrated by the active participation in the seminar of Members from all sides of the House.

Hon. Eric Benjamin, MLC, Speaker of the Legislative Council of St Helena said: “Hon. Members will be fully aware that over the past years the benefits we have received as Members of this great Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, have been many, not only in training which it continues to offer us but also in many other material benefits too, some evident in this room. On behalf of the Members of the CPA St Helena Branch, I wish to convey our thanks and appreciation to the CPA Secretary-General for the interest he has taken in St Helena. I shall look forward to these discussions with great interest and I believe that Members will embrace the benefit of this training.” To read the full version of speech please click here.

The newly elected and current Members of the St Helena Legislative Council heard from experts from across the Commonwealth at the CPA Post-Election Seminar including: Hon. Barry House, Former President of the Legislative Council of Western Australia; and Mr Roger Phillips, Clerk of Tynwald, Secretary of the House of Keys and Counsel to the Speaker, Isle of Man; as well as local Members and officials from St Helena.

The CPA Secretary-General, Mr Akbar Khan, in a message delivered on his behalf by Ms Meenakshi Dhar from the CPA Headquarters Secretariat, said: “The CPA Post-Election Seminar in St Helena demonstrates the CPA’s 
commitment to our Small Branches and to the territorial legislatures that we represent. The CPA Post-Election Seminar is emblematic of the mutuality of learning among CPA members, small and large, which is so much part of the life blood of the CPA family. I am delighted that the CPA is able to share good practice with local Members on issues such as the importance of Codes of Conduct as a tool to help address the trust deficit in Parliaments; the importance of gender equality in parliament; and the essential role that an effective Committee can play. This peer-to-peer learning and bringing together of expertise from across the Commonwealth, goes to the heart of the CPA’s key strength as an Association.” To read the full version of speech please click here.

Following the CPA Post-Election Seminar, the
CPA Roadshow for Young People will be launched in St Helena as part of the CPA Roadshows tour of Commonwealth schools and universities at Prince Andrew School. Students will have the opportunity to discuss the importance of the Commonwealth and of parliamentary democracy with the CPA delegation. The CPA Roadshows provide an opportunity for young people to learn about the political values of the Commonwealth such as diversity, development and parliamentary democracy; to discuss issues of concern about the society in which they live; and to find out about the work of the CPA. 

Images from the CPA Post-Election Seminar and the CPA Roadshow for Young People in St Helena can be accessed by clicking here.

Updated Monday 22 January 2018.

Image credits: St Helena Government images/CPA Headquarters Secretariat/Shutterstock.


Notes to Editors

Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), now in its 107th year with HM The Queen, Head of the Commonwealth as its Patron, exists to develop, promote and support Parliamentarians and their staff to identify benchmarks of good governance and to implement the enduring values of the Commonwealth. The CPA is an international community of over 180 Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures working together to deepen the Commonwealth’s commitment to the highest standards of democratic governance. Parliaments, their Members and officials learn from each other through CPA activities: Annual Commonwealth Parliamentary Conferences, Regional Conferences and other symposiums; Interparliamentary visits; Parliamentary Seminars and Workshops; Publications including The Parliamentarian, the Journal of Commonwealth Parliaments; and the Parliamentary Information and Reference Centre. 

For further information about the CPA, please contact:

Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
CPA Secretariat, Westminster House, 
Suite 700, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA, 
United Kingdom  T: 44-20-7799-1460 
F: 44-20-7222-6073 

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