Close to fifteen Dominicans received training as community mediators under the Canadian-funded Improved Access to Justice in the Caribbean (IMPACT Justice) Project. The training commenced at the Fort Young Hotel in Roseau on Monday August 24, 2015, but due to Tropical Storm Erika which struck on Day 4 of the 5-day session, training was completed on November 23 and 24.
The workshop was held with a view to increasing the local cadre of community mediators in Dominica so as to redirect some cases away from the courts and reduce the burden on the court system.
At the Opening Ceremony, held on Monday August 24, Attorney General, Hon. Levi Peter said, “In my view, that is a goal which is laudable and one which has great prospects of advantageously impacting our society.”
He continued, “If we can divert a number of those matters where there are disputes from the formal court system, then there is every chance that we can provide justice to the populace, as well as ensure that there is a greater degree of contentment in terms of the different level of matters that come up between human beings … In our individual communities the language is becoming more aggressive, less tolerant, less understanding of each other. Anything that can be done, in my view, to lessen the increasing and excessive level of conflict in our society is to be appreciated, lauded and be pursed with vigor and enthusiasm.”
The workshop was facilitated by the Dispute Resolution Foundation of Jamaica. Chief Executive Officer, Paul Hines, said it is important to enable a stronger development of Alternate Dispute Resolution and more importantly mediation in the region.
“I am here to help all the persons in this room who are aspiring to be mediators, to first be properly trained and to help you set up a structure that will help you. So we will be offering our experience,” said Mr Hines.
Prof. Velma Newton, IMPACT Justice Regional Project Director, explained that after the project has trained persons, it would assist persons in forming ADR associations in their countries.