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Visiting Falkland Islands parliamentarian identifies opportunities for forging closer links with Tynwald

Mr Speaker and The Hon Leona Vidal-Roberts MLA

​The Hon. Leona Roberts MLA, a Member of the Legislative Assembly of the Falkland Islands, has said that there is potential for forging closer links with Tynwald.

Mrs Roberts, who is a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) executive committee member representing the British Islands and Mediterranean Region (BIMR), was speaking while on a two-day study visit to Tynwald.

She said: ‘My interest in the Isle of Man and Tynwald was sparked after meeting Mrs Daphne Caine MHK in 2017 while attending a CPA course for newly elected parliamentarians held at McGill University in Montreal.

‘My time in the Isle of Man was tremendously useful and inspiring. It’s clear that our islands have a great deal in common and I hope that this might be the start of forging closer links between our two parliaments and communities.

‘The more I look at Tynwald the more similarities - as well as opportunities to share experiences - I find. I can see that Tynwald is doing many things right and there is much that we, as a young parliament, can learn from studying a parliament with such a long history.’

Mrs Roberts holds lead responsibility for Environment and Public Protection. She continued: ‘I’m particularly interested to find out more about the Isle of Man’s waste management operations and perhaps even “steal” a few ideas to take home to the Falkland Islands.’

Mrs Roberts was also keen to learn about Tynwald’s outreach programme. She said: ‘In the Falkland Islands, as with the Isle of Man, people are more politically “savvy” today and there’s an appetite among the electorate to learn more about those who are governing them.’ She added: ‘The role of MLA was formerly part-time but eight years ago it became full-time and that has changed the parliamentary dynamic.’

Turning to her role as a CPA BIMR representative she said: ‘The Commonwealth is still extremely relevant and for us it’s important that we not only promote the modern Falkland Islands but also show that we share the common values that the Commonwealth holds dear.

‘We’re all part of this same “family” of nations and that provides opportunities to strengthen existing and establish new links through initiatives such as this study visit.’

Arranged by the Clerk of Tynwald’s Office, Mrs Roberts’ programme included meetings with Members and officers of Tynwald and government officials and a tour of the Energy from Waste plant. Mrs Roberts also had the opportunity to meet with the Mayor of Douglas, Councillor Jonathan Joughin, at Douglas Town Hall.

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Photo shows the Hon Leona Roberts MLA with the Speaker of the House of Keys, the Hon Juan Watterson SHK. Photo courtesy of Paul Dougherty, Tynwald Seneschal

Published - 29/04/2019