President of the Senate Carolyn Trench-Sandiford and House Speaker Valerie Woods participated in women’s roundtable today in Belmopan. Correspondent Fem Cruz spoke to both of them on the importance of this exercise.
Carolyn Trench Sandiford, President of the Senate: “The session today is a session which is engaging women parliamentarians and women in political leadership and civil society to look at gender sensitive parliaments meaning how parliaments respond to both the needs of men and women. So in terms of that we’ve been having a conversation amongst ourselves as well as a conversation with women parliamentarians within the Commonwealth primarily from Canada and they’ve been sharing their experiences in terms of bringing about a gender sensitive parliament.”
Valerie Woods, House Speaker: “This is the group of the parliamentary support system through the Commonwealth which has worked with the National Assembly of Belize to revise it’s standing orders, to look at the draft code of conduct, work with the staff to improve the administration you know the work behind the scenes and now what we’re doing today is to work with the women in parliament, women in leadership as well as how to improve public engagement with the parliament. A lot of Belizeans see what happens in the House and the Senate and that’s about it but we need to do more to engage our public , we need to improve our communication with the public, we need to improve their interaction with what goes on with the parliament it’s procedures, it’s committees and we also have to ensure that we are promoting an open parliament, a more transparent, a more accountable, more accessible to the citizens.”