The Arbitration and Mediation Court of the Caribbean (AMCC), headquartered in Barbados, and already open to business, is necessary, says this island’s Industry Minister, Donville Inniss.
He was speaking on the sidelines of LATAM International Business Seminar, sponsored by Invest Barbados and hosted today at Hilton Barbados Resort.
The main purpose of the event was to highlight Barbados’ advantage as a reputable and transparent domicile, to showcase the jurisdiction’s value proposition, as well as to reinforce this island’s position as it relates to supporting and facilitating businesses of substance.
The Minister noted too that for the Latin American guests, the forum allowed them to get, first hand, an informed assessment of the quality of our business infrastructure.
Acknowledging that ties between Barbados and Latin America had grown strong over the years, he said, among other things, there were diplomatic relations with over 17 Latin American countries, embassies in Brazil, Cuba and Venezuela, as well as double taxation agreements with Cuba, Mexico, Panama and Venezuela. A signed tax information exchange agreement with Colombia, he added, was currently awaiting ratification.
Of the Court, Minister Inniss said: “In developing international business and a financial services centre, dispute resolution is very critical and a very important aspect of the sustainability of the sector. In Barbados, we do have a dispute legislation; we do have competent judicial officers and one must confess that the absence of a commercial court [had to be addressed].
“Sometimes, the slow pace at which matters are adjudicated or determined, not just by the officers presiding in the court, but also sometimes by some of the lawyers involved in the matters, themselves and some of their advisors, necessitate us looking at other options for dispute resolution, including mediation and arbitration.”
Noting it would help strengthen Barbados’ brand and position as a domicile of choice for financial investors, Mr. Inniss added that people liked to know there was a mechanism to address disputes quickly and “most cost-effectively address those disputes”.
Giles Carmichael, a partner in Chancery Chambers, had earlier alluded to the Court as he addressed international delegates on the topic Barbados Business: A Brief Morning Overview.
Acknowledging that the island had launched its own homegrown international arbitration centre, he noted it had already drafted rules for international and domestic arbitration and mediation, which were being finalised.
He said these were in line with Barbados’ 2007 International Arbitration Act, which is based on the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) model law.
Additionally, Mr. Carmichael said the centre had also held training for arbitrators, in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators’ Caribbean branch and its Barbados chapter.
“The centre has a Board of Directors responsible for general administration, but not the handling of cases; a court to appoint tribunals, determine the challenges to arbitrators; oversee the application of the centre’s rules and control cost, and a secretariat to manage disputes. The centre will also administer UNCITRAL cases and fund-holding services for ad hoc cases,” he noted.