N Touch
Sunday 18 August 2019
follow us
News

PM: Parliaments must hold gov’ts to account

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley addresses the 44th Annual Conference of the Caribbean, Americas and the Atlantic Region of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain, on Monday. PHOTO BY KERWIN PIERRE
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley addresses the 44th Annual Conference of the Caribbean, Americas and the Atlantic Region of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain, on Monday. PHOTO BY KERWIN PIERRE

THE PRIME Minister has said parliaments must hold governments to account.

He was delivering remarks yesterday at the opening ceremony of the 44th Annual Conference of the Caribbean, Americas and the Atlantic Region of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain. The conference runs from July 12-19 and Dr Rowley said, time permitting, he would join the conference today, when the topic for discussion will be the committee system and the challenges faced by our region "which still utilises the term 'part-time parliamentarians.'

"After more than 30 years as an MP, I am still befuddled by that term. My friends, colleagues, the Parliament is the institution that represents the people’s voice in government. It is the cornerstone of democracy. This important institution, of which we all hold membership, fulfils two critical functions: to legislate and to hold government to account. In doing so effectively, we must all engage in a myriad of activities all of which matter to our people."

He stressed the fundamental objectives of parliamentary oversight were to promote the people’s well-being and improve governance over their affairs.

"Oversight processes assess the impact of government action on society, help ensure that appropriate resources are provided to implement government programmes and identify unintended or negative effects of government policy and action and may also shed light on corrupt activities.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley chats with Speaker of the House Bridgid Annisette-George during the 44th Annual Conference of the Caribbean, Americas and the Atlantic Region of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain, on Monday. PHOTO BY KERWIN PIERRE.

"Oversight and accountability are major dimensions of the complementary democratic mandates of government and Parliament. Governments provide services to citizens; parliaments hold governments to account by questioning and challenging their actions and policies and making recommendations for change. No matter how tedious and repetitively boring these assignments may be, we must not be daunted in their pursuits, regardless of who we might offend in the process."

He continued: "So, if we legislate but do not engage in activities that hold government to account, are we fulfilling our mandate? If we legislate but do not engage in activities that investigate the concerns of the people, are we fulfilling our mandate? As parliamentarians, we must, therefore, be able to involve ourselves in oversight and representational activities; and such activities must provide us with opportunities to regularly consult with our people if we are to truly be their voice. So, what we do and how we do it matters because all our people matter. Why then are we as a region, the last to cling to this concept that our role is part-time? I leave you to muse on that in your deliberations during your conference."

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, left, chats with CPA Secretary-General Akbar Khan and Speaker of the House Bridgid Annisette-George during the 44th Annual Conference of the Caribbean, Americas and the Atlantic Region of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain, on Monday. PHOTO BY KERWIN PIERRE

He said the region of relatively small sovereign states remains a strong force in the CPA, comprising some 19 branches.

"Us coming together as a region on a regular basis is important. For it is here, among our peers, in this community of practice, that we learn from each other and deepen our commitment to the lofty ideals of the rule of law, separation of powers, human dignity, individual rights and freedoms and parliamentary democracy."

This story has been adjusted to include additional details. See original post below.


THE PRIME Minister said parliaments must hold governments to account.

He was delivering remarks on Monday at the official opening ceremony of the 44th Annual Conference of the Caribbean, Americas and the Atlantic Region of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain.

The conference runs from July 12-19 and Dr Rowley said, time permitting, he will be joining the conference today, when the topic for discussion will be the committee system and the challenges faced by our region "which still utilises the term 'part-time parliamentarians.'

"After more than 30 years as an MP, I am still befuddled by that term," he commented. "My friends, colleagues, the Parliament is the institution that represents the people’s voice in government. It is the cornerstone of democracy. This important institution, of which we all hold membership, fulfils two critical functions: to legislate and to hold government to account. In doing so effectively, we must all engage in a myriad of activities all of which matter to our people."

He stressed the fundamental objectives of parliamentary oversight were to promote the people’s well-being and improve governance over their affairs.

"Oversight processes assess the impact of government action on society, help ensure that appropriate resources are provided to implement government programmes and identify unintended or negative effects of government policy and action and may also shed light on corrupt activities. Oversight and accountability are major dimensions of the complementary democratic mandates of government and Parliament. Governments provide services to citizens; parliaments hold governments to account by questioning and challenging their actions and policies and making recommendations for change.

"No matter how tedious and repetitively boring these assignments may be, we must not be daunted in their pursuits, regardless who we might offend in the process."

Today's Most Popular
Comments

Reply to "PM: Parliaments must hold gov’ts to account"

News