Skip navigation


You are here: Homepage > Press Room > Previous Press Releases > CPA Conference Continues

Published 28th June 2007, 10:32am

Master of Ceremonies, His Excellency, the Governor Mr. Stuart Jack, fellow members of the Legislative Assembly, Secretary General of the CPA, visiting delegates and parliamentarians,

Good morning.

The Cayman Islands is indeed thrilled to be hosting this 32nd regional conference of the Caribbean, Americas and the Atlantic Region of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

This conference reunites us with some old friends and introduces us to some new faces, whom we expect will also become our friends over the next few days.

I wish to add my own words of welcome to all delegates from the 18 participating territories here this morning. As your hosts, it will be our honour to show you around our island and to give you a taste of our culture. I trust that your brief stay in the Cayman Islands will refresh and inspire you.

I am also honoured to welcome the Hon. Dr. William Shija, newly appointed Secretary General, who is attending his first conference in this region in his new capacity.

I congratulate him on the singular honour he has attained in being called to serve the association in this capacity. I wish him every success over the term of his appointment.

In hosting these conferences, the CPA is mindful of its mandate to promote knowledge and understanding of parliamentary democracy, respect for the rule of law and individual rights and freedoms.

For us in the Cayman Islands, the conference comes at a particularly interesting time, when we have been contemplating some of the very issues that underscore this conference's theme: Embracing Change in the Way we do Business: Efficient Government.

We have been engaged in implementing changes to our public sector management and naturally such actions bring with them a certain level of anxiety and perhaps even resistance. The role of the civil servant within a new culture of governance is one of the topics to be explored in this conference and I expect that this will be of particular relevance to us.

Our strong democratic tradition in these islands has stood the test of time, even as we acknowledge that there is perhaps room for improvement in terms of our current governance.

Changing times and a changing world around us are calling for new and improved applications of democratic principles and we recognise that we cannot stand still.

Pressing issues such as constitutional change and immigration have been weighing on us for some time now and bringing with them a realization that we have to be prepared to embrace such changes as are necessary to continue to build a society that is prosperous, progressive and inclusive of differing personalities and different perspectives.

Moreover, major issues affecting democracies across the globe - climate change; globalization and its impact on national economies; migration and its cultural impact, governance requirements for changing times - are the very issues that we have to grapple with in this region.

For us as small island nations, these issues loom larger than life and every day, and more of our energies and resources must be directed to deal with them.

I am therefore pleased to see that the many presentations on the agenda for this conference will highlight some of these very issues and I look forward to the discussions that we will engage in, on these very vital matters.

The CPA's regional conferences have always brought keen insight and a broad range of perspectives to the issues that affect our democracies and I expect that the deliberations at this conference will do no less.

Through these conferences and the collaboration that takes place among member associations and Parliamentarians, the CPA has played an important role in supporting small island countries like ours in strengthening our democratic institutions.

These conferences have been a good way for the CPA to determine, and therefore provide the necessary skills support and technical assistance that are helping to modernize parliamentary democracies in our region and elsewhere across the world.

I am personally happy to be involved and know that I speak on behalf of my fellow members of the Opposition when I say that we are confident that we will be thoroughly stimulated by these proceedings.

I wish for everyone a productive and enjoyable conference.

Thank you.