Tonga Hosts Regional Meeting Of Parliamentary Clerks, Officials

Improving trust between citizens, legislatures necessary for good governance

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, July 11, 2016) – Navigating together the challenges for modern Parliaments, is the theme of the 47th Annual Presiding Officers and Clerks Conference held from July 11-14 in Nuku'alofa, attended by parliamentary officials from 10 Pacific Islands.

Crown Prince Tupouto’a ‘Ulukalala in opening the conference on Monday, July 11 at the Fa'onelua Convention Centre said as leaders of their legislatures they have been entrusted with a heavy and crucial task to ensure that their legislatures are effectively carrying out their constitutional mandates.

“As you actively discuss the challenges your parliaments face I strongly urge you all to consider encouraging these Tongan pillars of love, respect, humility, reciprocation and patriotism not only in yourselves but of your parliamentarians and parliamentary staff. I am postive that these will be a huge first step to overcoming a lof of the challenges you face.”


Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Mr Akbar Khan said the theme is appropriate as across the Commonwealth the challenges facing Parliaments, legislatures, large and small to embed good governance, transparency and democracy and to ensure an enduring relationship of trust between citizens and their Parliaments have never been greater.

“In the Pacific, these challenges are felt particularly acutely by small island states given the often severe constraints on capacity and resources, limited sittings of Parliament and the unpredictability of constitutional challenges resulting in recourse to the courts from time to time.”

He said these bumps in the road could be explained as the growing pains of establishing democracy. But they also inevitably impact on the ability of any legislature to operate at its most effective to meet the needs and aspirations of the people. If not addressed in a timely sustained and holistic manner, deficiencies in any system of democracy will ultimately have consequences for the economic and human development of any country, he said.

In addition, Lord Tu’ivakano Speaker of Tonga's Legislative Assembly said they are at the helm of their ships and are responsible for steering their ships in the right direction.

“We are responsible for ensuring our Parliaments carry out their constitutional functions. Today, the call for parliamentarians to represent, legislate, scrutinize, account and be transparent is increasing, especially with the advancement of democracy and the demand for good governance on the rise.”

Attending are speakers and clerks from Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Kiribati, Niue, Vanuatu, Australia, Solomon Islands, New Zealand and Tonga.

Matangi Tonga Magazine
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