ADR the way to go

It is what forms the basis of what is known as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and already, 300 people in the Caribbean have been trained in the techniques of mediation as a means of solving disputes rather than seeking redress in a court of law.

In their effort to achieve this goal, the government of Canada announced in Barbados last week, that it would be spending $62 million Barbados dollars, to assist Caribbean countries, including Trinidad and Tobago, in reforming their respective justice system.

The aim is to spread the concept of ADR throughout the Caribbean by training more personnel to become qualified as mediators, as a means of solving disputes amicable, than the cut-and-trust of the courtroom.

Dr Margaret Gail Miller, who is the senior director of the Caribbean Regional Programme and director for Canada to the Caribbean Development Bank,announced this when she opened a two-day Media Law workshop in Barbados last week Tuesday. Several journalists and editors from across the Caribbean, including Trinidad and Tobago, attended the workshop which was held at the Radisson Beach and Acquatica Resort.

The media workshop was part of a series of public legal education events for CARICOM member states, under the Canada-funded “Improved Access to Justice in the Caribbean” project.

Gail Miller said that Canada has given a commitment, that 32 million Barbados dollars would be spent on what she termed: “CCJ JURIST” project. She explained that the various systems would be implemented which would enable judges and judicial officers, to deliver “timely, transparent and effective justice”.

The other 30 million Barbados dollars, Gail Miller said, would be spent on a what she termed, “UWI IMPACT JUSTICE” project.

The aim of that project, she told the media workshop, is to put the appropriate systems in place, so especially marginalised communities in the CARICOM region, as well as governments, the private sector and society as a whole, would have easier access to justice.

Professor Velma Newton who spoke after Gail Miller, said that under the Canada-funded “Impact Justice” programme for CARICOM countries, announced that 300 people have been trained in ADR and they have already begun to use the techniques to solve disputes. They comprise Justice of the Peace, teachers, religious leaders, and other community leaders.

Newton said that the objective of the ADR programme, is to teach people how to resolve conflict, without violence, and, before minor issues escalate and have to be taken to court. She said, “Already, people have been using the techniques, with great results.

These and other mechanisms, teach how to resolve conflict without violence and before minor issues escalate and have to be taken to court or become matters in relation to which attitudes harden, and people box themselves into a corner and pride prevents them from saying sorry and moving on. We have now trained nearly 300 persons across the region.” Journalists and editors from the region, were addressed by an array of speakers, both from the media fraternity, and the UWI Faculty of Law, on the following topics: “Confidentiality of Sources; Defamation, On-line Reporting, Parliamentary and Government Reporting, Reporting on Family Matters and Gender Issues”


"ADR the way to go"

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