Plans For Alternative Dispute Resolution Centre

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The Ministry of International Business and its partners are forging ahead to establish an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Centre in Barbados.

International Business Minister, Donville Inniss, made this disclosure on Wednesday after chairing a meeting at his Baobab Towers office.

Present were officers from key government departments, senior Ministry staff, and representatives from the Barbados International Business Association, the Barbados Chamber of Commerce, the Barbados Bar Association, Chancery Chambers and Invest Barbados.

They witnessed a presentation on Establishing Barbados as an International Hub for Conflict Management and Resolution by ADR Consultant, Baria Ahmed.

Mr. Inniss disclosed that the establishment of the Centre had been in the ???works for a while???, and in the past, conversations had taken place with members of the Judiciary; members of the private Bar, the International Business Sector, as well as the Chamber of Commerce and external panellists.

He said: ???We have come to the point where having reviewed the various studies and reports on the issue we need to forge ahead with a sense of urgency and purpose towards establishing this Centre.

Let me say at the outset it will be designed to complement the Judiciary, and not in any way, form, shape or fashion to replace or attempt to replace it really.

???We recognise that there will be disputes that arise between parties, commercially oriented normally, but we can settle outside of the rigours of the court system??? People want this for several reasons; some look at the cost, some look at the timing of it as well as the confidentiality in not having public records on some of these matters.???

In lauding the initiative, the Minister stated that the opportunities were there for Barbados to establish the Centre, which would cater to domestic, regional and international clientele.

He further informed that it was their goal from day one to focus on a Centre that was international in nature, as it was recognised from early on that this was another avenue to diversify the economy, as well as build upon the good reputation Barbados has as a domicile of choice in international and domestic business.

???I certainly believe that we have what it takes to make this work. There are those who are trained in dispute resolution that may need to just brush up on their skills. We also recognise that there are partnering institutions available that can offer us the opportunity to develop the human resource to drive it forward as well.

???We are at the stage where we are giving urgent consideration to identifying a physical facility to house the Centre??? Also, we have put together a team to look at financing for the Centre for the first three years and we are going to go to our domestic, regional and international partners and seek some financing, so we can do this in a sustainable manner,??? he explained.

Amendments to legislation or the creation of new legislation, the Minister further added, was being addressed by the team with a matter of urgency, as he noted that it was their wish that within a year the Centre would be established and functioning in Barbados.

He said it would certainly complement what was already being done in the domestic and International Business arena. The Centre will bring about settlements in several areas, including family, property and consumer disputes, issues pertaining to rents and cheques, and motor vehicle accident cases.

theresa.blackman@barbados.gov.bb

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