11th REPUBLICAN PARLIAMENT: 3rd SESSION

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Parliamentary Visits and Workshops Overseas

4 Dec 2012

Below is a list of attachments/visits to other Parliaments being undertaken by Members of Parliament and staff of the Office of the Parliament.

 

1.    Official Visit of a Trinidad and Tobago Parliamentary Delegation to the National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China, December 5 to 12, 2012.

Persons Attending:

  • The Honourable Wade Mark, MP, Speaker of the House
  • Senator the Honourable Timothy Hamel-Smith, President of the Senate
  • Senator the Honourable Anand Ramlogan SC, Attorney General
  • Senator Subhas Ramkhelawan, Independent Senator
  • Senator Faris Al-Rawi, Opposition Senator
  • Mrs. Jacqui Sampson-Meiguel, Clerk of the House
  • Mr. Brian Caesar, Marshal of the Parliament

As the largest Parliament in the world, it would be interesting and informative for the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago to observe the procedures, operations and challenges of the National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China as it functions through its Standing Committee and other Committees.

The Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago hosted a high level delegation from the National People’s Congress from the People’s Republic of China in March, 2012, which was headed by His Excellency Mr. Wang Zhaoguo, Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress and Member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee. It was during that visit that the invitation to visit China’s National People’s Congress was renewed.

The proposed visit will allow Members to:

  • share and gather "good practices" on the impact and difference in political leadership and decision making
  • gather information on the modernization of laws relating to powers, privileges and immunities of Parliament
  • understand how ICT is utilized in the proceedings and management of Parliament
  • promote cooperation between the National People’s Congress of China and the Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

2.    Two-Week Course on Parliamentary Reporting in the Digital Age, London, United Kingdom, December 3 to 14, 2012

Persons Attending:

  • Ms. Kathleen Mohammed, Editor of the Official Report
  • Mrs. Evelyn Lewis, Parliamentary CAT Reporter II

The course offers a comprehensive, in-depth look at the operations of the Official Report and delegates will get a first-hand experience of the Hansard’s working practices, systems, and use of technology. This course will also provide participants with the opportunity to network with other editors and Computer Aided Transcript (CAT) reporters, observe, learn about the House of Commons Reporting System, and meet staff involved in various debating forums of the House of Commons, from the Chamber, to Westminster Hall, to Select Committees. The course will therefore expose participants to new technologies which they may then introduce into their own local reporting operations.

The Hansard is the verbatim report of the proceedings of the House outlining all the debates that take place in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, capturing the contribution of every Member; questions and responses. It plays a vital role in safeguarding democracy as it enables the public to better assess the performance of its representatives as well as be aware of what takes place during proceedings.

This particular course will cover the following areas:

i.    Reporting and Editing

Delegates will:

  1. shadow Reporters and Editors at work and see how the UK Parliament’s Hansard Unit publishes an edited version of Debates online within three hours of the live event;
  2. take part in Reporting and Editing Workshops;
  3. attend Prime Minister’s Question Time, the most high-profile event in the UK’s political week.

ii.    Technology Support

Delegates will gain an experience of:

  1. Hansard’s latest reporting software;
  2. the UK Hansard Unit’s bespoke Sliq digital audio system, voice recognition software and electronic logging;
  3. the UK Hansard Unit’s administration support systems, including liaisons with private contractors.

iii.    Staff Development

Delegates will learn about:

  1. Official Report recruitment methods
  2. The Hansard training programme
  3. Occupational health

iv.    Performance Measurement

Delegates will learn how the UK’s Hansard Unit:

  1. manages performance through quality control, using a system of error categorization
  2. analyzes key performance data
  3. monitors the performance of private contractors

3.    Attendance of a Parliamentary Delegation at a two-day Programme on Financial Oversight, Westminster, London, December 11 to 12, 2012

Persons participating:

  • Sen. the Hon. Marlene Coudray – Minister of Gender, Youth and Child Development
  • Sen. the Hon. Jamal Mohammed – Minister of Communication
  • Sen. the Hon. Embau Moheni – Minister in the Ministry of National Diversity and Social Integration
  • Mr. Colm Imbert, MP -  Member for Diego Martin North/East
  • Sen. Fitzgerald Hinds – Opposition Senator
  • Mr. Ralph Deonarine – Procedural Clerk
  • Ms. Keiba Jacob – Procedural Clerk

The two-day Programme will take the form of a Joint Programme with Members of the Public Accounts Committee from the Parliament of Uganda. The Programme will seek to explore the practices, procedures and challenges of the Public Accounts Committee in the UK Parliament; with the overall aim of increasing the capacity and effectiveness of the Committees represented.

This two-day programme is reflective of the initiatives undertaken by the Honourable Speaker of the House to improve the overall functioning of the Parliament and is also in keeping with the Prime Minister’s stated commitment to reform and strengthen the Legislative Arm of the State. These initiatives include:

  • The project, "Strengthening the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago" by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP);
  • A study conducted on Parliamentary scrutiny and existing Parliamentary Practice in Trinidad and Tobago by the European Union (EU).