The National Assembly of Guyana and the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia (A Canadian province) on Tuesday (January 17, 2017) signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will see improved cooperation between the two houses.
Signing on behalf of Guyana was Speaker, Dr Barton Scotland and for British Columbia, Mrs Linda Reid. The Speakers agree that the signing provides an opportunity to improve relations of the two Houses and two countries by extension.
A sentiment also shared by Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, Pierre Giroux who was also present for the signing. “Often when we talk about bi-lateral relations between countries we tend to focus on the relations between the Executive, Government to Government, but we also have to remember that an essential part for democratic relations is the relations between Parliaments” he said.
The Speakers also explained that the process to the actual signing began some time ago.
“We’ve had members of your Parliament come to Newfoundland, Canada last July to be part of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference, so that was the first opportunity for us to dialogue” Speaker, Linda Reid explained.
Dialogue and conversation, she says are the strength of the partnership. “From the perspective of the Assembly it will be an uplifting opportunity for us in terms of community work, in terms of structure, in terms of Sergeant-at-Arms, in terms of the roles, what they look like across our jurisdictions. Politically that will be a chance for Government and Opposition to come together but in terms of this Assembly twinning, its more about the process of Parliament.”
The partnership will also give legislators a chance to find solutions to similar problems. This was noted by High Commissioner Giroux who said when initial talks began last year, the Canadian Parliament was first suggested but when the content of Parliamentary discussions was raised it became apparent that British Columbia and Guyana had several commonalities. “We thought that the issues of prime interest for Guyana and the issues of prime interest for British Columbia coincided perfectly” he said.
Additionally, the agreement will make way for an “exchange of information regarding the work of the two Assemblies on matters of common interest; professional development activities between the Assemblies; exchange of visits between the two Assemblies as a means of fostering links between parliamentarians and parliamentary staff; and meetings between representatives of the Assemblies at conferences or seminars they may attend.”