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CPA Conference Held

The Speaker, Hon. Mary Lawrence, MBE, JP (seated third from left), Clerk of the LA Zena Merren-Chin (standing, first right) with participants of the CPA's 15th Biennial Speakers, Presiding Officers and Clerks Conference.

Against a colourful backdrop of flags from participating countries, the Cayman Islands Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association opened the 15th Biennial Conference of Speakers/ Presiding Officers and Clerks of the Caribbean, the Americas and the Atlantic Region, on Monday 4th April, 2011 at the Legislative Assembly Building.

Taking part in the two-and-a-half-day meeting were delegates from Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Trinidad, and Tobago, and the host country, the Cayman Islands.

Speakers included the President of the Cayman Islands Branch of the CPA, Hon. Mary J. Lawrence, MBE, JP, Speaker of the Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly, Hon. Juliana O'Connor- Conolly JP, Acting Premier, and Regional Representative of the International Executive Committee of the CPA, and Hon. Alden McLaughlin MBE, JP, Joint-Vice-President of the Cayman Islands Branch CPA.

The Conference was opened by His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Duncan Taylor, CBE, and the vote of thanks was given by Mr. Dwayne Seymour MLA, member of the Executive Committee of the Cayman Islands Branch.

Special tribute was paid to National Hero, the Hon. Sybil McLaughlin, MBE, the first woman to be appointed as a Clerk in the entire Commonwealth and the first Speaker of the Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly, and the person responsible for the organization of the first overseas Conference to the held in the Cayman Islands (1972) - The Third Regional Conference of Presiding Officers and Clerks.

The Opening Ceremony featured members of the CI National Cadets Corps carrying the flags of the participating countries to the accompaniment of the respective countries' national anthems.

The Cayman National Anthem and National Song were sung by Mr. Rudy Myles and Ms. Karen Edie respectively.

After deliberating on topics including the Role and Duties of the Clerk; Parliament and the Media, and the role of Presiding Officers, Speaker Lawrence hosted an evening reception for the delegates.

The second day's business covered Parliamentary Privilege, Information and Communications Technology in Parliaments, and the Document- Benchmarks for the Democratic Legislatures of the Caribbean, Americas and Atlantic Region which has been submitted for further discussion and acceptance by the Regional Conference of Presiding Officers and Clerks.

The Conference voted to return on Wednesday morning to complete its work on the latter.

The delegates were hosted to a dinner reception at Boatswain's Beach by the Premier, the Hon. W. McKeeva Bush, OBE, JP that evening.

The delegates left the islands on Thursday morning.