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KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent — The Commonwealth Secretariat’s Governance and Institutional Development Division and Members of Parliament of the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) on Thursday began a two-day retreat on governance and development.

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The even will discuss and explore “Challenges of the Westminster Style of Government”, “Governance and Effective Opposition”, “Innovative ways to Participate in Governance”, “Accountability”, “Leadership and Policy Development”, “Integrity” and “Leadership”.

This first time outreach to opposition parties in the Caribbean, starting with the NDP in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), is part of the Commonwealth’s initiative to engage both sides of parliament on issues of governance and development, the NDP said in a statement.

Facilitators from the Commonwealth Secretariat in London are Dr. Joan Nwasike, head of Regional Programmes and Adviser for the Caribbean region, Geraldine Goh, communications adviser Commonwealth Secretariat, Dr. Carlton Davis, consultant and former Cabinet Secretary in Jamaica; Dr. Peter Phillips, former cabinet minister and shadow minister of finance and Chairman of PAC, Jamaica; and Jeremiah Scott, a former cabinet minister in SVG (SVG).

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NDP Arnhim Eustace described the exercise as “very relevant” and said while the NDP is preparing for the role of government, the Commonwealth intervention is coming at an interesting time in the politics of our country and he looks forward to the lively discourse over the two day retreat.

The NDP, which host 7 seats in SVG’s 15-member Parliament, welcomed the Retreat Facilitators at a cocktail at Sunset Shores on Wednesday.