Summits of the Americas Newsletter

February 2009 | Summits Online | Español

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Parliamentarians hold Special Dialogue in Port of Spain

In a Final Statement adopted at the end of the Special Parliamentary Dialogue held in Port of Spain on April 16, parliamentarians of the Americas called for an increased parliamentary participation in the Summits Process as a means to ensure accountability and transparency. The event, a joint effort by the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago and the Inter-Parliamentary Forum of the Americas (FIPA), aimed to bring a legislative dimension into the Summits of the Americas Process.

The Dialogue, the first parliamentary event of this calibre organized as part of the pre-summit events, provided an opportunity for parliamentarians and government representatives of Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, Grenada, Paraguay, the United States, Uruguay and St. Vincent and the Grenadines to share ideas on possible means to deepen the cooperation between governments and parliaments towards advancing hemispheric goals.

The president of FIPA, Brazilian deputy Luiz Carlos Hauly, praised the “open and honest” dialogue among parliamentarians and government representatives, which “sets an example of parliamentary democracy between the legislative and executive branches.”

In the Final Statement, the parliamentarians encouraged such a partnership between the legislative and executive branches in the implementation of the Declaration of Commitment of Port of Spain and expressed their will to participate on a continual basis in the Summits of the Americas Process through FIPA.

Keynote speaker Paula Gopee-Scoon, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago, stated that support from parliaments would be needed in order to legislate in areas such as arms trafficking or cybercrime, while Senate’s President Danny Montano called for parliaments to help governments set foreign policy and also to have a say over the conditions that are imposed on countries by development agencies.

Also in attendance was OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza, who stressed the need to strengthen FIPA as an instrument of cooperation.

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