Monday, 7 February 2011 11:01 AM

Sir Peter Shares Experience

"Members of Parliament need to be active in meeting with their voters and representing their issues in parliament," says Sir Peter Kenilorea.

These were the words of the retired Speaker of the Parliament, Sir Peter Kenilorea, while speaking to Tongan parliamentarians last week.

In referring to the Solomon Islands, Sir Peter said that in every general election almost 50 percent of members of Parliament lose their seats.

He said many of the Cabinet Ministers in particular, were doing good work in the capital city, but had spent less time working in their constituency and listening to their voters.

Sir Peter said in his view, translating national issues to constituents is the most important role for MPs, because after all the constituents put them there.

He said MPs should relate very closely with their constituencies and communicate national issues.

Sir Peter highlighted that the remote and dispersed islands and communities in the Pacific made outreach to the constituents a challenging but important work that had to be prioritised.

His comments generated a lively discussion amongst the Tongan MPs at the Parliamentary Awareness and Leadership Workshop being held in Nuku'alofa last week.

The workshop was organized by the Legislative Assembly of Tonga with support from the United Nations Development Programme, Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Australia, New Zealand Parliament, Commonwealth Pacific Governance Facility and AusAID.