Belmopan. July 18, 2019. Speakers, parliamentarians and Clerks of parliaments from the Caribbean Legislative Assemblies have gathered in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, for the 44th Annual Conference of the Caribbean, Americas and Atlantic (CAA) Region of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), that is being held under the theme “Globalization and Nationalism: Quo Vadis – Impacts on Commonwealth Parliaments”.


The conference is being held from 12th – 19th July 2019, and comprises of sub-meetings, namely: 12th Regional Conference of Women Parliamentarians (CWP); Regional Executive Committee Meeting; Annual General Meeting; 44th Plenary Conference; and 15th Regional Youth Parliament.


Representing the National Assembly of Belize at the conference is the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Laura Tucker Longsworth, the Deputy Clerk to the National Assembly, Mrs. Clarita Pech, and the CARICOM Youth Ambassador, Mr. Kris Miller.


The 12th Regional CWP was held from 12th -13th July 2019, where they discussed the issues of gender-based budgeting and gender-based harassment. Meanwhile, on 14th July, the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Her Excellency Paula-Mae Weekes, declared the opening of the 44th Plenary Conference at the official opening ceremony.


Speakers and parliamentarians from 17 Caribbean countries are discussing the issue relating to migrants and refugees and if there is a need for a collective regional response, the issue of human rights and if our parliaments are fully accessible to persons with disabilities, and how relevant is the Westminster traditions in a modern parliament.


On 16th July, the Honourable Laura Tucker-Longsworth presided over the session that discussed the Committee System and the part-time parliamentarian. Other issues being discussed at the conference are digital disinformation: the challenges to parliaments and democracy and rethinking the Westminster Model of Governance: the need for a fundamental shift.


On 17th July, the 15th Regional Youth Parliamentary Debate was held in the parliament chamber of Trinidad and Tobago, where 41 youth parliamentarians debated the issue of migrants and refugees.


The participating member countries at the 44th Annual Conference of the CAA of the CPA are Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Commonwealth of the Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Grenada, Co-operative Republic of Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Nevis Island, St. Christopher and Nevis, St. Lucia, Turks and Caicos Islands and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.