This March 11 is Commonwealth Day which celebrates our cultural, family and economic links to the family of nations that is our Commonwealth.
Many of us have family members who emigrated to Commonwealth countries either generations ago or more recently.
I myself have relations across Canada, Australia and New Zealand who call my family farm their ancestral home and love to visit to come and see where they came from and keep in touch with their kith and kin.
Rather than linking ourselves to the insular EU with their declining economies and markets, falling populations, and lack of democracy, we should engage more and invest more in the growing economies and markets, increasing populations and great opportunities that exist in the countries making up the truly global Commonwealth.
For centuries our countries have been connected.
If you are fortunate enough to visit the great city of Durban in South Africa you will see their City Hall is a replica of Belfast City Hall.
If you visit Parliament Buildings in Stormont you will see that the Senate Chamber is a celebration of the Commonwealth, with African mahogany and Canadian maple alongside Irish Damask Linen on the walls to promote local produce.
I urge you to join me on March 11 to celebrate our Commonwealth connections and the benefits they bring both currently in the future.
We must work to bring the UK and the Commonwealth closer together so that as we leave the insular EU we can all share the benefits of a truly global community, which is essential in today’s inter-connected world.
United Commonwealth Society UK Representative and DUP executive member