Post Conference Report

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CPA Wales Branch
Post Conference Report
43rd British Isles and Mediterranean Region Conference

Falkland Islands, 11-15 February 2013

Self-Determination and its Role in

Self Governance and Devolution”

Photo: Official Conference Photograph
Stanley Town Hall, Falkland Islands

Branch Delegation:

Joyce Watson AM, Branch Chair and Delegation leader

William Powell AM, Branch Executive Committee Member

Accompanying Secretary:

Al Davies, Acting Branch Secretary


  1. The National Assembly for Wales has an active Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (1). The CPA meets in plenary conference each Summer/Autumn in its entirety and once each year also at a regional level. The Assembly is grouped within the British Islands and Mediterranean Region (2).

  1. The National Assembly for Wales Branch of the CPA was invited to send a delegation of two Members and an accompanying Secretary, to attend the 43rd British Islands and Mediterranean Region conference hosted by the Falkland Islands Branch in Stanley 11-15 February 2013

  1. Expressions of interest and (where appropriate) business cases, were invited from all Members and the delegation subsequently selected by the Branch Executive Committee.

The Conference

  1. The Conference Programme is presented in Annex A

  1. There were 37 delegates and special guests from 11 of the BIMR’s 13 legislatures as well as observers from Canada and Anguilla. A full list of the delegates in attendance is attached in Annex B.

  1. The theme for the Conference was ‘Self-Determination and its Role in Self Governance and Devolution’; a theme of particular relevance and interest to the Falkland Islands Government of course, due to their referendum in March 2013. The referendum question proposed by the Falklands Islands Assembly and adopted by the Executive Council was - Do you wish the Falkland Islands to retain their current political status as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom?

Opening Ceremony

  1. The formal opening ceremony took place in the Town Hall and included performances by children from the Falkland Islands Community School. Hon Keith Biles JP, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of the Falkland Islands, welcomed guests.

Plenary and Workshop Sessions

  1. Guest speakers were invited to address 3 of the 4 plenary sessions which were:

  • Self-determination and its role in self-governance and devolution

  • Arguments about self-determination

  • The right to self- determination is not curtailed by sovereignty claims

  • Experiences in the development of greater regional and national autonomy

  1. The Rt Hon Baroness Scotland QC addressed the first plenary session

“Self-determination and its role in self-governance and devolution”. In her speech she placed the right to self-determination within the international legal framework and gave examples of how fluid and varied a nation’s journey can be through different degrees of self-governance.

  1. Professor Michael Keating addressed the second plenary session

“Arguments about self-determination”. He explained the different elements required for a nation to determine its own future, and the different ways in which this can occur. He concluded with a statement describing how, over time, a group can constitute itself as a people to determine their own future, so long as it can be demonstrated that there is a genuine desire to do so.

William Powell AM, as part of the subsequent Q & A session, asked Professor Keating about the role of Constitutional Monarchy within the context of self-determination as well as the importance of symbols, including national anthems, as part of this.

  1. There followed two workshops, focusing on “The challenges of

governance in smaller territories and regions” and “Theories of self-determination: How have these theories been applied in recent years across the world and what are the international trends?”. Joyce Watson AM and William Powell AM attended and participated in each of these sessions.

  1. On the second day of the Conference, The Hon Samantha Sacramento

MP delivered a speech on behalf of Fabian Picardo, Chief Minister of Gibraltar, prior to the third Plenary Session entitled “The right to self- determination is not curtailed by sovereignty claims”. The presentation described Gibraltar’s own journey of self-determination, and the challenges faced by small states in exercising their right to decide their own political future.

  1. The final open plenary discussed “Experiences in the development of

Greater regional and national autonomy”. This session enabled delegates to set out the position in relation to their own legislatures and provided an interesting experience for delegates to be able to compare the varying levels of devolution within the UK.

  1. The Wales Branch Chair addressed delegates to give a summary
    account of Wales’ political journey since, and leading up to devolution,
    in 1999; including the significance of milestones within this “process”
    such as the successful 2011 referendum which had given enhanced
    law-making powers for Wales.

  1. Copies of the Plenary presentations as well as summary notes of the
    Q&A and workshop sessions will be made available under 2013 BIMR
    Report section of the CPA Wales Branch webpage.

Annual General Meeting

  1. The Regional AGM was chaired by the senior Regional Representative

Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods MP (UK) and took place on 13 February. The AGM Agenda is presented in Annex C. The AGM Minutes are at this time unavailable but will be added to this report in due course.

  1. The two main issues discussed during the AGM were:

    1. CWP -The Regional CWP election and the proposed

Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Steering Group

    1. Funding of future BIMR Conferences

  1. The paper outlining a proposed e-voting process for the Regional CWP

Chair was agreed. The representative would serve a 3 year term from 2013-16.

  1. In addition, delegates were asked to seek approval from their Branch

Executive Committees to support a CPA BIMR CWP Steering Committee.
It was recommended that each Branch should nominate a woman

Parliamentarian to join a Regional CWP Steering Committee (RCSC) in order to support the soon-to-be-elected Regional CWP Representative.

  1. If agreed, by a majority of the 13 Regional Branch Executive

Committees, the first meeting of the RCSC was proposed for late April / early May 2013 at Westminster with a teleconference facility for those not able to travel to London. The purpose of this meeting would be to map out future plans and in particular to discuss candidacies for the election of the CPA CWP Chairperson which would be held at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) in Johannesburg during the first week of September 2013.

  1. The other main issue discussed was in relation to funding of future

BIMR Conferences which was first raised at last year’s AGM at the 2012 Conference in Edinburgh.

  1. Delegates agreed that each Branch should decide on one of two

options for the funding of future BIMR conferences to take effect for the BIMR conference to be hosted by Wales in May 2014, over a two day period, with an optional self-funding culture day.

  1. The options were as follows:

Option A) The status quo - the host Branch pays for the conference.

Option B) Delegates fund their return travel to the conference and their bed and breakfast accommodation at the conference hotel (one hotel to be reserved for conference delegates by the host Branch), and the host Branch to meet all other conference costs.

  1. The CPA Wales Branch stated its support for the second option which it

saw as a bridging compromise between the previously discussed options of “he who hosts pays” and “he who goes pays”. In making this point, the Wales Branch stressed however, that it was fully committed to hosting next year’s Regional conference irrespective of the decision reached on this matter and very much looked forward to welcoming delegates to Cardiff in May 2014.

  1. All Branches were asked to formally notify the Secretariat of their

decision by 24 March and the Regional Secretary would announce the results on 28 March 2013.
Summary, Conclusion and Outcomes

  1. The Conference was considered interesting and promoted a great deal

of debate regarding the various experiences of self-determination amongst delegates, both within and outside the formal sessions.

  1. It was clear that the emphasis of the conference theme was focused on

the present situation faced by the Falkland Islands within the context of the imminent referendum to ascertain and make clear to the international community the wishes of the Islanders regarding their future sovereignty.

  1. It was also interesting to note the evident interest from delegates in

the 2014 Scottish referendum on Independence and the significance that this might have on the future constitution of the United Kingdom.

  1. It was surprising, and somewhat disappointing to note how little

reference there was to Wales as a devolved nation and its evolving political relationship with the United Kingdom. Furthermore, on occasions where devolution in Wales was referred to there were sometimes significant oversights and even blatant factual inaccuracies. It was therefore a very positive thing that the CPA Wales Branch was represented at the conference in order to raise awareness of Wales’ story and model of devolution within both a UK and International context.

  1. Attendance at the conference also allowed the CPA Wales Branch

excellent networking opportunities both within the Region and beyond; and an important platform to promote the BIMR conference it will be hosting in May 2014.

  1. The proposal of a future BIMR Commonwealth Women

Parliamentarians Steering Group was seen as a very positive development and would hopefully bring the Region in line with other Regions, such as in Africa and Canada, who had long placed just significance on Women’s issues within the work of the CPA.

  1. The CPA Wales delegation wishes to acknowledge the generous

hospitality offered to them by the Host Branch, and in particular:

The Hon Keith Biles , CPA Falkland Islands Speaker of the House

Claudette Prior MBE, Clerk of the Executive Council and Legislative Assembly

Cherie Clifford, Deputy Clerk and Conference Assistant

Sukey Cameron MBE, Falklands Islands Government Representative

CPA Wales Branch

Acting Branch Secretary
May 2013


(1) The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association is an international inter-parliamentary organisation. Further information about the CPA may be found at and about the Wales Branch at

  1. The British Islands and Mediterranean Region grouping comprises Alderney, Cyprus, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Jersey, Northern Ireland, Scotland, St Helena, the UK and Wales.

Annex A




11-15 FEBRUARY 2013


Monday 11 February

1530 Arrive Mount Pleasant Airport Falkland Islands

Met by: The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Hon Keith Biles JP

Hon. Dick Sawle MLA

Hon. Sharon Halford MLA

Claudette Prior MBE

1600 Transport to Stanley by coach

1700 Check-in: The Malvina House Hotel

1900 Welcome buffet dinner in the Malvina House Hotel with Members of the Legislative Assembly

Tuesday 12 February

0845 Depart hotel and walk to the Town Hall (Conference venue)

0900 Opening Ceremony:

0950 Official photograph Sharon Jaffray

1015 Plenary Session 1:Self-Determination and its role in self -governance and devolution:

Q&A Session
Chair: Margaret Mitchell MSP

Secretary: Margaret Neal (Scotland)

Lead Speaker: The Rt Hon The Baroness Scotland of Asthal PC QC

1145 Lunch at Shorty’s Diner

1345 Plenary Session 2: Arguments about self-determination:






Q&A Session
Chair: Hon. Mike Summers OBE MLA (FI)

Secretary: Claudette Prior (FI)

Lead Speaker: Professor Michael Keating

1530 Workshop A: “The challenges of governance in smaller territories and regions”

Chair: Hon Joseph Bossano MP (Gibraltar)

Rapporteur: Hon Juan Watterson MHK (IoM)

1530 Workshop B: "Theories of self-determination: How have these theories been applied in recent years across the world and what are the international trends?"
Chair: Hon Roger Edwards MLA (FI)

Rapporteur: Hon Tony Wild MLC(IoM)

1630 Report back from workshops:
Workshop A: Hon Juan Watterson MLK (IoM)

Workshop B: Hon Tony Wild MLC (IoM)

1930 Buffet Dinner at Malvina hotel with Members of the Chamber of Commerce

Wednesday 13 February

0900 Plenary Session 3: “The right to self-determination is not curtailed by sovereignty claims”

Q&A Session
Chair: Hon Sharon Halford MLA (FI)

Secretary: Simon Ross (Guernsey)

Speech of Hon Fabian Picardo Chief Minister of Gibraltar delivered by Ms Sacramento MP

1100 Annual General Meeting of the Region.

Chair: Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods MP

Secretary: Andrew Tuggey

1230 Lunch for delegates

Meeting for Clerks and FIG Members’ Remuneration panel at conference venue

1345 Open Plenary: “Experiences in the development of greater regional and national autonomy”

Chair: Hon Dick Sawle MLA (FI)

Secretary: Al Davies (Wales)

Rapporteur: Hon Isobel Ellul-Hammond (Gibraltar)

1500 Round up of key points from Conference.

Chair: Hon Jan Cheek MLA (FI)


Hon Juan Watterson MHK (IoM)

Hon Tony Wild MLC (IoM)

Hon Isobel Ellul-Hammond (Gibraltar)

1530 Closing Session:

Hon Keith Biles JP – Speaker of the Legislative Assembly (FI)

Hon Dick Sawle MLA (FI)

The Rt Hon Sir Alan Haselhurst MP

1600 Press Conference with delegations at conference venue

1645 Return to hotel

1800 Reception at Government House Lounge suits

1945 Dinner at the Malvina House Hotel:

Short address by Speaker Keith Biles FI Legislative Assembly

Annex B



Hon Hubert Hughes MP

Hon Barbara Webster Bourne (Speaker)



Russ Hiebert MP



All Members of the Falkland islands took part. Official delegates:

Jan Cheek

Mike Summers

Falkland Islands

Deputy Francis Quin

Deputy Michelle le Clerc

Mr Simon Ross


Hon Samantha Sacramento MP

Hon Isobel Ellul-Hammond MP

Melvyn Farrell


Connétable Juliette Gallichan and

Connétable Steve Pallett

Mrs Anne Harris


Hon Juan Watterson MHK

Hon Tony Wild MLC

Mr Roger Phillips

Isle of Man

Hon Angelo Farrugia MP

Hon Jesmond Mugliett MP

Mr John Vella


William Hay MLA

Robin Ramsay

Northern Island

Hon Raymond Williams MLC

St Helena

Margaret Mitchell MSP

Stuart McMillan MSP

Margaret Neal


The Rt Hon Baroness Patricia Scotland of Asthal PC QC

The Rt Hon Sir Alan Haselhurst MP

Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods MP

Thomas Docherty MP

Andrew Rosindell MP

Andrew Tuggey

Victoria Bower


Joyce Watson AM

William Powell AM

Al Davies


Professor Michael Keating

Guest Speaker

Annex C

1. Apologies for Absence.
2. Chair’s Welcome (Regional Rep CPA UK) and Opening Remarks.
3. Minutes of Regional AGM 12 June 2012 – Paper 01.
4. Matters Arising.
5. Commonwealth and CPA Matters, including report from CPA Chairperson, Rt Hon. Sir Alan Haselhurst MP, to include General Assembly issues.
6. CWP Matters, including agreement for election for BIMR CWP representative – Paper 02.
7. Funding of BIMR Conferences – Paper 03.
8. Regional Secretary's Report – with Regional Events.
9. Commonwealth Parliamentary Conferences (CPC) and Regional Conferences:
59th in 2013 (South Africa)

60th in 2014 (CameroonTBC)

44th in May? 2014 (Wales)

45th in 2015 (CyprusTBC)

46th in 2016 (JerseyTBC)

47th in 2017 (TBC)

10. EU – Commonwealth Activities and Issues.
11. Reports from Regional Branches.
12. Dates of Next Meetings:
• September 2013 Meeting at 59th CPC in South Africa

• BIMR AGM at 44th Regional Conference in Cardiff

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