TT tops region in connecting Parliament with its public

Alleyne-Toppin made the remarks during her contribution on making the legislature more accessible and interactive for citizens.

She was speaking at the conference which has been in progress this past week at the Hyatt Hotel in Port-of-Spain.

She stated that TT had developed websites, television and radio stations, even a Youth Parliament, and education drives which all strive to inform the public on the workings of the Parliament.

Alleyne-Toppin said through the Parliament’s website people are able to browse information such as Acts, Bills, Hansard and background information on the internal workings of the parliament which were previously unaccessible.

According to Alleyne-Toppin, TT officially launched its Parliament Channel four years ago to provide citizens with easier access and an unbiased view to the full proceedings of Parliament.

She explained that the Parliament Channel was also broadcast on radio 105.5 FM which further educates the electorate about the history of TT’s Parliament.

Alleyne-Toppin also explained that one of the best methods for reaching the public with messages or ideas, is by meeting them in their villages, communities, homes, places of work and schools.

The Tobago elected MP said making the legislature more accessible and interactive to voters can also be made possible through various education drives and units. She cited the Australian Parliamentary Education Offices which endeavours to encourage Australians to become active and informed citizens through developing an understanding of Australian Parliamentary education which was interesting and exciting.

The Communications and Public Education Unit of the Office of the Parliament does the same here,” said Alleyne-Toppin.

She also pointed out that through the various constituency offices Members of Parliament can also interact with the people who voted for them, as this provided the opportunity for face-to-face contact with their elected representative.

“It is at this point that any disconnect between the common man and their elected representative is bridged,” said Alleyne-Toppin.

Youth involvement, according to her is also an important element in getting the public aware of parliamentary proceedings since this allows the youths of the nation to get involved and become interested in Parliament.

“Youth Parliaments are features of the larger and older jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada,” said Alleyne-Toppin.

Youth Parliaments enable young people to experience making laws, debating issues, conducting committee work and even changing Governments, all within the rules of Parliamentary conduct.

Alleyne-Toppin said enabling the public to interact more easily and frequently with elected members and parliamentary committees was essential if the growing levels of public distrust and general skepticism about politicians and representative Government institutions are to be stemmed.

She explained that this can only be achieved if the legislature becomes more accessible and interactive for citizens.

“Having a responsive Parliament where voters’ views are important and public input is valued would go a long way to alleviating the cynicism many members of the public feel towards politicians,” said Alleyne-Toppin.

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"TT tops region in connecting Parliament with its public"

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