The Speaker of the House of Keys the Hon Juan Watterson SHK has returned from Grand Cayman after representing the Isle of Man at the 43rd Annual Regional Conference of the Caribbean, the Americas and the Atlantic region of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) hosted by the Cayman Islands Branch of the CPA from June 18 to 22.
Mr Speaker had been invited by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of the Cayman Islands, Dr Hon McKeeva Bush OBE JP, to attend the conference to speak on population growth in developing countries.
He said: ‘This was a great opportunity to represent the Isle of Man and raise our profile before an audience of some 75 parliamentarians from around 20 Commonwealth nations. In my address I took delegates on a “journey”, tracing the Island’s shrinking population and declining economy in the 1960s, moving on to the early 1980s – the era of our economic and political maturity with its attendant population growth – and then to the diversification of our economy in the 1990s which continues to this day. I then went on to speak of the challenges we now face to achieve “the right sort of growth”, one that will safeguard the collective cultural identity of our society and ensure our Island remains a great place to live, work and visit.
‘The audience was most receptive and I hope that by outlining the Island’s story it might contribute to prompting informed debate among developing nations about their economic and social aspirations for the future.
‘I also had useful discussions with Rt Hon Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP and with Premier of the Cayman Islands Hon Alden McLaughlin and Treasury Minister Roy MacTaggart, as well as with Speakers from Antigua and Barbuda, Bermuda, BVI, Montserrat, St Christopher and Nevis, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, St Lucia and Nova Scotia, also with Mr Pablo Oden Marichal of the Cuban Parliament.’
Mr Speaker said topics included Brexit, security and education and that the conference included the 14th Annual Regional Youth Parliament.
He added: ‘The conference also provided an opportunity for me to talk with some jurisdictions about Tynwald’s Hansard service and with Ezzard Miller, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, about the operations and cooperation of our PACs.’
While in Grand Cayman Mr Speaker also met with chartered accountants to discuss issues surrounding beneficial ownership and other matters affecting the profession in the Caribbean and the Cayman Islands in particular.
Mr Speaker’s travel and hotel costs were met by the Cayman Islands Branch of the CPA.