Alex Downie MLC has returned from leading a Tynwald delegation of Leonard Singer MHK and the Clerk of Tynwald Roger Phillips to the 59th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference, hosted by the Parliament of South Africa in Johannesburg.
They joined representatives from around 175 Commonwealth parliaments and legislatures to discuss issues of mutual concern at the conference which took for its theme ‘Effective Solutions to Commonwealth Developmental Challenges’, and to hear the President of South Africa, H.E Jacob Zuma, 2013 vice-patron of the CPA, address the audience of some 600 parliamentarians and parliamentary officials gathered in the Sandton Convention Centre.
At the Small Branches Conference sessions Mr Downie spoke about ‘Ensuring Technical and Legislative Capacity for Ethical Tax-raising in Small States’ while Mr Singer spoke on ‘Self-determination, self-sufficiency and self-governance’.
Mr Downie said: ‘I was glad to be able to explain some of the substantial contributions of the Isle of Man in sharing its expertise on ethical tax-raising in small states. The Island should play a leading role internationally in showing the way forward for small states in developing their economies. The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association plays an important part in this process.’
Mr Singer commented: ‘I was very pleased to have been able to take part in the CPA annual conference. The Isle of Man always punches above its weight in this forum which allows us to put forward the interests of the Island internationally. We were both selected to make keynote presentations which were well received and supported by Commonwealth delegates. Both Alex Downie and I have made many useful contacts over the course of this week with influential politicians from all parts of the world, some of whom wish to come to the Island to continue the dialogue with us and learn more about the Island. This is an indispensable part of ensuring that people understand the real characteristics of the Isle of Man.’
The 59th conference comes only months after the new Charter of the Commonwealth was agreed by heads of government and signed by Her Majesty the Queen as Head of the Commonwealth in London on March 11th.
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