Parliamentary procedure, the foundation for upholding democracy –Prime Minister Phillips

Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips, M.P, on Tuesday said parliamentary procedure is the foundation for upholding any country’s democracy, emphasising that elected members must maintain their responsibility of representing the interests of all citizens.

The Prime Minister made the statement during the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s (CPA) training seminar of the Twelfth Parliament of Guyana, at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC).

Prime Minister, Hon. Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips during his virtual address.

The two-day session focuses primarily on establishing a framework to examine the core elements to strengthen democracy through good governance.

“We are elected to represent the people of Guyana and to ensure good governance under its constitution. In Guyana, we have seen detrimental effects and disadvantages that the threat to our democracy could cause,” the Prime Minister stressed during his virtual address.

He said the sessions will provide critical capacity building for legislators, overseers and representatives of all aspect of the nation’s democracy.

“So not only is this seminar valuable to us in our role as ambassadors for our people, but it is a primary refresher of the need to continually uphold our positions with the honour and integrity as we serve our people,” thePrime asserted.

He pointed out the importance of parliamentarians receiving good guidance, noting that institutions like the CPA must be commended.

With over 56 years of affiliation with the Commonwealth, Guyana has actively participated in the association’s activities, through regional and international conferences over the years.  

As the country with the largest Commonwealth chamber in the Caribbean, the administration intends to ensure the country is able to work with fellow Caribbean parliamentarians on matters of regional interests.

Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Manzoor Nadir.

“We must also ensure that our parliamentarians operate with distinction as we conduct the Assembly’s business, administratively and financially. Our access to the partner networks that the CPA offers for women, parliamentarians and parliamentarians with disabilities do not go unnoticed. As we are aware, inclusion and equality are important tenets, to which often is fully permitted,” the Prime Minister underscored.

Meanwhile, Speaker of the National Assembly, Manzoor Nadir said though contentious issues might be highlighted during the forum, it is important to draw on the experiences of the world.

“We still have a lot to learn, everyday it’s a new challenge, it’s a new experience, that requires new solutions and considerations. I wish that we all share our views as the Prime Minister said, with the rules of order. Let us continue to dialogue and find a way forward to improve the lives that we represent,” the Speaker emphasised.  

Speaker of National Assembly of Trinidad and Tobago, Bridgid Annisette-George said she is thankful for the opportunity to be part of the dialogue, which seeks to strengthen parliamentary work to better serve the people of Guyana.

– Speaker of National Assembly of Trinidad and Tobago, Bridgid Annisette-George.

Serving also as the ParlAmericas’ Vice President, Annisette-George underscored that the seminar sets up an ambitious agenda of relevant and complex topics essential to effective parliamentary functioning.

“Social equality and minority rights must not be isolated from decision making on national development which form our resilience building in times of crisis or from our economic recovery efforts,” she pointed out.

She believes that the consultation is a continuous commitment to grow the knowledge base, allowing greater opportunities for the prosperity of citizens in the respective countries. 

Deputy Speaker, Suriname, Hon. Dewanchandrebhose Sharman.

Speaking also at the opening ceremony were Deputy Speakers of Guyana and Suriname, Lennox Shuman, M.P, and Hon. Dewanchandrebhose Sharman, respectively.  

Several members of the diplomatic community were also in attendance.

The training seminar will also see participation from the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, Canada, the National Assembly of Suriname, the House of Representatives of Trinidad and Tobago, and organisations such as ParlAmericas and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

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