Int’l Parliamentary body mulls G/town to house 1 of 14 offices globally

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The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) – the global organisation of national parliaments – has its eyes set on Guyana for the establishment of a regional office to coordinate its Caribbean hub activities.

Regarding Guyana as a highly valued member state, Secretary-General of the IPU Martin Chungong revealed that the considerations were ongoing to establish the regional office space in Georgetown.

In an exclusive interview with the News Room in Kigali on Saturday, Chungong said he believes this is appropriate with Guyana already home to the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat.

The IPU’s 145th Assembly which concluded on Saturday in Kigali, Rwanda endorsed the proposal to establish 14 IPU regional offices to enhance its execution capacity and coordination.

These offices are expected to work closely with various geo-political groupings like CARICOM.

With its current headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the IPU will start with two pilot regional offices.

No timeline has been set for the establishment of the Caribbean office although more consideration and debate will have to go into it. No country from the Caribbean has offered to house the regional office.

But even before the regional office is established for the Caribbean, the IPU has a more urgent task at hand; that is to ensure more Caribbean participation within the body.

The IPU is inching ever closer to universal membership, with 178 member parliaments out of the 193 countries in the world, only a handful of Caribbean countries are active members.

Jamaica currently stands suspended but with talks underway, there are efforts to address the organisational challenges.

Chungong acknowledged the active supporting role Speaker of the National Assembly of Guyana Manzoor Nadir is playing in ensuring there are more Caribbean parliaments in the IPU.

Speaker of the National Assembly, Manzoor Nadir (Photo: DPI/February 24, 2021)

All parliaments are welcome to join the IPU if they are lawfully established national bodies operating in states recognised by the United Nations. On rare occasions, members are suspended due to the unconstitutional dissolution of parliament, or their rights are suspended for the non-payment of assessed contributions.

The Governing Council takes decisions on admitting, readmitting and suspending members or their rights.

As recently as October 03, 2022, Speaker Nadir penned a letter to the Minister of State for the Public Service in the Bahamas, Pia Glover-Rolle recommending the consideration for membership.

In that letter, Nadir pointed out that Guyana sees its membership in the IPU as beneficial and of strategic importance as the country strives to build on its existing democracy and recommits to international comity.

Nadir said the IPU’s President, its Secretary General and the wider Secretariat have asked him to become more involved and during a breakfast meeting at a conference in September, many Caribbean countries expressed a willingness to move forward with their IPU membership.

IPU, with 178 countries as active members, could easily mirror the UN in terms of membership should the Caribbean countries ensure active participation. The UN recognises the IPU as a sister organisation.

The IPU is a unique association and one of three of which the Parliament of Guyana is a member. The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and Parlamericas are the others and Guyana maintains active engagements.

1 Comment
  1. Patricia Pierre says

    This is great news. That shows that Guyana and it’s Government are highly appreciated , highly favoured and well respected d and that sugers well for other organizations such as this one to establish offices here.

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