The Commonwealth At 75 – One Resilient Common Future: Transforming Our Common Wealth 

PR – On March 11, the Commonwealth celebrated its 75th Anniversary in London, under the theme  One Resilient Common Future: Transforming our Common Wealth. The celebrations  began with a flag raising ceremony at Westminster Palace, commonly known as the House of  Parliament where the flags of the 56-member countries were paraded and hoisted, together  with the Commonwealth flag. This was immediately followed by a wreath laying ceremony to honour the fallen servicemen and women within the Commonwealth who died during World Wars I and II. High Commissioner Rachér Croney laid a wreath on behalf of the  government and people of Grenada. 

The annual Commonwealth Day Service was held later that evening at Westminster Abbey.  The service was attended by members of the Royal Family, dignitaries, senior government  officials, and Commonwealth officials, including Secretary-General to the Commonwealth  the Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland, KC. In her address to the congregation, Secretary General  Scotland stated, “The reality of the world today – more connected, yet more complex and  challenged than ever – insists that we are dependent on each other. We work together, or we  suffer in isolation. In this context – facing challenges which are so intractable, so  interconnected, so consequential, and so far-reaching – our place within the Commonwealth  offers us a genuine advantage.” 

In a video recorded address, His Majesty, King Charles III, Head of the Commonwealth stated, “The seventy-fifth anniversary of The Commonwealth is a moment to reflect on the  remarkable journey that our unique family of free and independent nations has made since  1949. Last year, The Bahamas celebrated its fiftieth anniversary of Independence, as Grenada  has this year, and Papua New Guinea will next year. Each of these milestones – and many  others like them – represent the fulfilment of countless aspirations and the achievement of  such remarkable potential.” He noted that diversity is our greatest strength and that we are united by the many challenges we face, “whether it be climate change, the loss of nature, or the social and economic changes that new technologies are bringing.” The King declared that  “we must work together to understand each other’s perspectives, including the inequalities and injustices which still resonate to this day. We must find ways of healing, and to support  each other to pursue solutions. I cannot say often enough that it is by coming together that we  create the best chances to improve our world and the lives of people everywhere.” Grenada’s  flag bearer for the Commonwealth Day Service was Ms. Sherice Noel, Chevening  scholarship awardee and attorney-at-law. 

Participating in the celebratory activities was President of the Senate, Hon Dr. Dessima Williams, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Leo Cato and Clerk of the House,  Mr. Andrew Augustine, together with the High Commissioner for Grenada to the U.K., Her  Excellency Rachér Croney. 

To mark the 75th anniversary of the modern Commonwealth, the Speaker of the House of  Commons in the U.K., Sir. Lindsay Hoyle hosted several Speakers and Presiding Officers from throughout the Commonwealth to attend a special Commonwealth 75 Speakers’ Summit in London from March 11-15. The Summit focused on the role played by parliament  in shaping the democratic institutions across territories throughout the Commonwealth. Some of the sessions included: the role of the speaker; effective parliaments and the responsibility  of members; parliamentary systems analysis; democracy in practice and practicing  democracy; balancing and managing relationships with Members of Parliament; leadership,  and communication skills, among many others. President of the Senate, Hon. Dr. Dessima Williams chaired a session on ‘Holding the Prime Minister and Executive to Account’ with speakers Hon. Natalie Ward, Legislative Council in the Parliament of New South Wales, and  the Rt. Hon. Phillip Dunne, MP, U.K. House of Commons. The Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, and Grenada’s Senate President, Dr. Williams, also presented  on ‘The Role of the Speaker.’ 

Dr. Williams described the week-long sessions as “very informative.” She further stated that  “the combination of ceremonial, diplomatic, and substantive events allowed a well-rounded  picture of the Commonwealth.” Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Leo Cato also  stated that, “This year’s celebration of the Commonwealth of Nations represents a landmark journey over 70 years. It shows the entire world what is possible when diverse people share  and adhere to common values.” 

At the end of the Summit the Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth released  a communique which endorsed the core values and principles of the commonwealth as declared in the 2013 Commonwealth Charter. They further affirmed that by the 100th anniversary, it is their “hope that our parliaments and assemblies will have continued to  contribute to a world that is free of strife, war, and inequality and that ‘cooperating in the  pursuit of peace, liberty and progress’, as first declared in the London Declaration of April  1949, is as relevant then as it is today and 75 years ago.”