By J. Brock (FINN)
The 43rd British Islands and Mediterranean Region (BIMR) Annual Conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) will be hosted in the Falkland Islands. Venue dates are 11th - 15th February 2013.
Regularly sending delegates over several years, the Falkland Islands Branch has been a member of the CPA to the Annual Plenary and Regional Conferences. The BIMR is made up of branches from Alderney, Guernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, CPA UK, St Helena, Cyprus, Malta and the Falkland Islands. The Regional Conference is hosted on a rotating basis, with this being the second time the Falkland Islands has hosted it. Whilst not all branches are able to attend the meeting, a total of 37 delegates are expected. Representatives from Canada and Anguilla will observe. The delegates respective branches meet travel costs, with the Falkland Islands responsible for local costs.
Arriving officially on Monday 11th February, invited observers and guest speakers will depart on Friday 15th February. However, some delegations have chosen to arrive early, on Saturday 9th, in order to have the opportunity to explore the Islands further.
Self-Determination and its role in Self Governance and Devolution is the theme of the two-day conference (12th and 13th February). Guest speakers have been invited in order to address 3 plenary sessions. They are; The Rt Hon The Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC, Professor Michael Keating, and Fabian Picardo the Chief Minister of Gibraltar. Their talks will all relate to the conference theme. A question and answer period will follow each speech. Delegates will then break into workshops to discuss elements of the lead speeches before reporting back to the plenary session.
In addition, the BIMR Annual General Meeting will also take place during the week, and Members of the Legislative Assembly will also meet privately with the delegation from UK.
The third full day will be a Falkland Life Tour to Bluff Cove.
There will be a number of evening social events, including a buffet dinner with Members of the Chamber of Commerce and a Gala Dinner with invited guests.
The Opening Ceremony will include performances by children from both the Infant and Junior School and Falkland Islands Community School, under the direction of Shirley Adams-Leach. There will be very limited seating for the public to observe the proceedings of the Opening Ceremony and Plenary sessions, though it is expected that these sessions will be broadcast by the Falkland Islands Radio Service and Falkland Islands Television. Details of a press conference, along with the programme and delegate details will be issued in due course.