Mediation – An Important Component for Improving Access to Justice
The IMPACT Justice Project, which is funded by the government of Canada, started its regional community mediation training programme in Barbados on Monday April 6th, 2015.
The five-day training course, which was held at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), fell under the Project’s broader Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) component.
The training commenced with an opening address delivered by Adriel Brathwaite, Q.C., M.P., Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs of Barbados. He stated that mediation was an important component of improving access to justice in the region and also key in the attempt to reduce some backlog in the court system. He also stressed the point that the average Barbadian was not aware of this alternative to solving disputes external to the court system and he was happy to see this initiative taking place in Barbados.
Prof. Velma Newton, IMPACT Justice Regional Project Director, extended thanks to the funders, the Government of Canada, and explained that the main objective of the Project was to promote economic development, stability and the well-being of citizens in CARICOM Member States within which the Project was being implemented.
The training was conducted on behalf of the IMPACT Justice Project by Ann Diaz of the Department of Behavioural Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, UWI, St Augustine Campus, Trinidad and Tobago, and Kumar Hathiramani of the ADR Association of Barbados.
The twenty-two persons (fourteen females and eight males) who completed the programme comprised social workers, senor government administrators, attorneys-at-law, ministers of religion, police officers, religious leaders and representatives of civil society organisations. There was also one teenager who saw the advertisement for the programme in the newspaper, and expressed great interest in attending.
Participants were generally very pleased with the programme and rated it very highly. Prof. Newton stated that the programme would also be rolled out in other CARICOM Member States to which the Project applied.