Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Secretary General, Stephen Twiggs expressed his deep concern over recent violent acts against Members of Parliament including the killing of an MP and offered assistance from the CPA to strengthen democracy and security of Sri Lanka Parliament, its members and staff.
He said this when he called on Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena at the Temple Trees yesterday (11). He also agreed to look into the Prime Minister’s request to expand the exchange and training programmes of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association for MPs and parliament staff members to include members and staff of local government bodies.
The Prime Minister also requested him to assist to the United Kingdom’s internship programme for university students to visit rural areas for a short period and help English Language teaching in rural schools.
Premier Gunawardena briefed the CPA Secretary General about the development of Westminster-style parliamentary democracy in Sri Lanka since introduction of universal franchise 91 years ago and thanked the CPA for the continuous support provided to Sri Lanka. He briefed the delegation about President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s proposal to set up a Climate Change University in Sri Lanka and the Secretary General said he would see how the Commonwealth could support the proposed university, under its Blue Charter.
The Prime Minister also explained the reforms programmes proposed to increase women and youth representation in Sri Lanka Parliament and local government bodies.
Twiggs said the Asia Region of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association will be opened in Sri Lanka shortly. The Asia Region comprises of eight Legislatures – including the Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and The Maldives national Parliaments as well as the sub-national Legislatures of Pakistan. The CPA Asia Region undertakes a number of programmes intra-regionally. He said the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) regional chapter is highly active across the region. The CPA Asia Regional Secretariat is currently based in the Parliament of Sri Lanka.
Secretary to the Prime Minister, Anura Dissanayake, Head of Strategy and Engagement of CPA Emily Davies and acting Secretary General of Parliament Kushani Rohanadeera were also present during the meeting.