At the time this article was written
Ripton MacPherson was Speaker of the House of Representatives of Jamaica.
It seems appropriate that a Commonwealth Day
Message has afforded me the first opportunity of communicating with all the
Branches of the Association since my election in New Zealand as Chairman of the
Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. It is an
honour to be able to serve in this capacity and I look forward to working
constructively with all Branches throughout the Commonwealth.
Over the years, the Commonwealth has evolved
into a major international organization with a membership of forty-two
sovereign states. Not surprisingly therefore, its functions and activities have
increased significantly and its role in international affairs has received
great recognition. The relationship which has developed among its members is of
inestimable value, not only because of the shared experiences and the
consultative nature of the relationship, but also because of the practical
nature of Commonwealth co-operation and its concern for matters with which we
can all closely identify.
Within the Commonwealth, there is continuous
wide-ranging inter governmental co-operation in such areas as education,
health, youth, law and various forms of technical assistance. It is, however,
the special responsibility of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association to
actively encourage the growth and development of appropriate Parliamentary
systems within the member states of the Commonwealth.
The Association therefore warmly welcomes
Norfolk Island, and the return of Bangladesh, Ghana and Swaziland to its
membership and hopes that in the very near future, it will have the pleasure of
receiving delegates from Nigeria and Zimbabwe-Rhodesia at its Conferences.
As we observe the occasion of Commonwealth
Day, it is my deep belief that this group of nations with its time-honoured
traditions, rich diversities and strong sense of community will continue
through its Parliamentarians to inspire and provide leadership in the pursuit
of new co-operative and mutually beneficial relationships among states of the