Tynwald and the Isle of Man received ‘very positive’ reviews at the 63rd Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC), delegate member Ms Clare Bettison MHK has said.
Ms Bettison and the Speaker of the House of Keys, the Hon Juan Watterson SHK, supported by the Clerk of Tynwald Roger Phillips, joined more than 500 parliamentarians and parliamentary clerks from across the Commonwealth in Dhaka for the conference, which was hosted by the Bangladesh Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and took for its theme: ‘Continuing to enhance high standards of performance of parliamentarians’.
Ms Bettison said: ‘The conference was extremely diverse in content, with the emphasis on good governance through professional development. Another recurring theme was how best to engage with the electorate – especially with the younger generation – and in this many delegates found it a real eye-opener that in the Isle of Man 16-year-olds had the right to vote. I was also pleased to serve as the British Islands and Mediterranean Region representative at the inaugural CPC youth roundtable session where a group of law students from Dhaka University prompted lively discussion on topics that majored on giving young people a “voice” and accelerating greater youth participation in the parliamentary process. The session also provided an opportunity for me to illustrate Tynwald’s commitment to engage with the electorate by speaking about Junior Tynwald and Members’ participation in CPA roadshows and educational outreach programmes.
‘In summary, the conference was most worthwhile as it showed how important it is that geographical location should not be seen as a barrier to parliamentarians regularly coming together face to face to build new and reinforce existing relationships, share experiences and work together to strengthen the democratic process.’
The Speaker of the House of Keys, the Hon Juan Watterson, said: ‘It was certainly a busy week! In addition to chairing two sessions and presenting in a third one, the Isle of Man was given a heightened profile by involvement in press conferences for print, radio and TV. As a Speaker, I was fortunate to meet with the President, Prime Minister and Ministers from Bangladesh to talk about the Isle of Man. It was also useful to build relationships with fellow Speakers from parliaments as big as the Indian Lok Sabah and as small as the Cook Islands Assembly. We are always keen to extend an invitation to the Isle of Man, and representatives from parliaments large and small are taking us up on that offer.’
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Mr Speaker is pictured chairing a workshop session on youth engagement.