A delegation from the National Assembly of Laos has made a study visit to Tynwald.
Sponsored by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), established to strengthen parliamentary democracy in developing countries, the visit was set against the background of the National Assembly establishing a justice committee and moving towards a more proactive and systematic legislative review process.
Arranged by the Clerk of Tynwald’s Office the programme included an examination of the Isle of Man’s relationship with the UK and the European Court of Human Rights, the legislative and committee procedures of Tynwald and its addressing of human rights.
Heading the 10-strong delegation, which had travelled to the Isle of Man via London to study Westminster parliamentary procedures, was foreign relations committee vice-chairman Khenthong Nuanthasing, who said that the visit, the first from the parliament of Laos, would provide ‘valuable learning opportunities’ and that the National Assembly was proud to be associated with the Isle of Man and Tynwald through the support of the WFD.
Mr Nuanthasing explained that Tynwald’s status as the oldest continuous parliament in the world was of particular interest to the delegates given that the National Assembly was a ‘young’ parliament, just some 40 years old, prompting him to comment: ‘So we hope to learn much from you.’
David Thirlby, WFD senior programme manager Asia explained that Tynwald had been identified as a valuable study resource for developing parliaments thanks to its consistent warmth of welcome, ‘willingness to engage’ and ‘flexible approach’ to devising tailored programmes, often within short timeframes.
WFD country representative Phetmany Xaychaleune said that Tynwald offered ‘a different perspective from the UK’ and provided a valuable opportunity for delegates to draw on the wealth of experience of such a long-established parliament. She added: ‘The knowledge acquired from this visit to Tynwald will help the National Assembly to manage change.’
Photo - Delegates from the National Assembly of Laos are pictured with the President of Tynwald Steve Rodan MLC, Geoff Corkish MLC and Bill Henderson MLC.