Completion Of Phase II of Benchmark Assessment by The National Assembly

Basseterre, St. Kitts  (National Assembly of Saint Christopher and Nevis) – The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) has completed Phase II of a comprehensive Assessment on the National Assembly of Saint Christopher and Nevis. Mr. Matthew Salik, Head of Programmes and Ms. Avni Kondhia, Programmes Manager, visited the Federation from May 18th, 2024, to May 25th, 2024, at the invitation of the Honourable Speaker. The information gathered during the critical groundwork phase of the Assessment is crucial to the overall development of the final Report. Prior to their arrival, the Delegates collected and analysed data from several Members of Parliament and Staff of the Parliament.

Photo (l-r): Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew (Prime Minister), Hon. Lanein Blanchette (Speaker of the National Assembly), Ms. Avni Kondhia (Programmes Manager at the CPA), Mr. Matthew Salik (CPA Head of Programmes).

The CPA’s Recommended Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures seeks to identify areas for improvement in the administrative and operational functions of the Parliament. Providing minimum standards for the functioning of Parliament, this Assessment supports the thrust towards identifying the requirements for a modernized Legislature. Moreover, this Assessment analyses the National Assembly’s conformity to the fundamental principles outlined in the Commonwealth Charter and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Throughout their visit, the Delegation held broad-based engagement with various Parliamentary Stakeholders. Notably, the exercise saw the participation of Current and Former Members of the National Assembly, the Office of the Clerk, the National Audit Office, the Media, the Electoral Commission, the Constituency Boundaries Commission, the St. Kitts National Youth Parliament Association, the St. Kitts and Nevis Bar Association, Political Parties within the Federation, Civil Society Organisations as well as various Government Ministries and Departments.

Additionally, the Delegation visited the island of Nevis where discussions were held with the President, Members and Clerk of the Nevis Island Assembly along with the Premier of Nevis.

Photo (l-r): Mr. Matthew Salik (CPA Head of Programmes), Ms. Trevlyn Stapleton (Clerk of the National Assembly), Hon. Lanein Blanchette (Speaker of the National Assembly), Ms. Avni Kondhia (Programmes Manager at the CPA), Senator the Hon. Latoya Jones (Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly), Mr. Mauriel Knight (Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly).

Speaking on the Benchmark Assessment, Speaker of the National Assembly, the Hon. Lanein Blanchette stated, “This Assessment is a significant step towards ensuring our parliamentary processes are in line with international standards. The insights gained from this exercise will be invaluable in our efforts to enhance the effectiveness, inclusivity, accountability and transparency of our legislative body.”

The Assessment will now enter Phase III where the CPA is expected to produce a Post Deployment Report consisting of summarised findings and recommendations. The contents of this Report will be used to guide the Strategic Planning and Modernisation of the National Assembly.

The Office of the Speaker wishes to extend sincerest gratitude to all participants and stakeholders for their cooperation and invaluable contributions during this Phase of the Assessment.

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