In the long run, it was a venture that paid off for the TT Chamber and the business community. Dispute resolution has now gained a firm foothold within the corporate world and is today included in contracts and agreements across a range of business sectors. The Dispute Resolution Centre can proudly fly its flag as the agency that has played a leadership role in having dispute resolution accepted in the mainstream of the commercial sector.
Much of the DRC’s success can be attributed to its forward-thinking Board, led by Chairman Raoul John, who began his association with the Centre in the late 1990s. Raoul stayed the course, setting the tone and driving expansion until his retirement as Chairman in October 2016.
Raoul John and his carefully selected Board of Directors have, over the years, shaped the DRC’s culture and built its core values of trust, integrity and service excellence. And it is this corporate culture and calibre of mediators that have largely contributed to the selection of the DRC as the approved mediation agency for two highly successful court-annexed mediation programmes in 2010 and 2013 respectively.
The court-annexed programmes were executed under rigid quality controls relating to the selection of mediators, execution and evaluation. The result was a 95% customer satisfaction rate and encouraging testimonials from both clients and attorneys.
Registered with the Mediation Board of Trinidad and Tobago as an approved mediation and training agency, the DRC has trained over 10,000 persons in dispute resolution and has mediated and arbitrated hundreds of matters.
The astute leadership of Raoul John also helped to craft an organisation that engages in corporate-social initiatives. It has partnered with organisations such as the Citizens’ Security Programme to train and develop community residents in conflict resolution and mediation so they can work towards violence reduction and peace promotion within their communities. By the end of this year, over 250 such persons would have been trained in CSP partner communities.
With the current downturn in the economy, companies will face challenges in managing expenditure and will look for the best value for money. Regrettably, the Courts are fraught with delays and are a financial drain on organisations and individuals. They offer little certainty, confidentiality or satisfaction. Conflict resolution, particularly mediation, provides a viable, cost-saving option that allows parties to work towards creative, mutually acceptable outcomes, which may be then be translated into binding agreements.
With its cadre of highly trained, professional and experienced facilitators, mediators and arbitrators, the DRC is well poised to provide an outstanding service to business and non-business clients who wish to expedite the settlement of disputes or train their staff in effective dispute resolution.