Police officers, community activists, educators, business persons and social workers were among a group of 35 persons to receive training as community mediators under the Canadian Government funded, Improved Access to Justice in the Caribbean (IMPACT Justice) Project.
The training, which took place from February 29th – March 4th, 2016, at the Coyaba Beach Resort, Grenada, fell under IMPACT Justice’s broader alternative dispute resolution (ADR) component. The goal is to build the capacity for community mediation services around the region in an effort to reduce the burden on the courts.
The regional justice reform project is slated to develop or increase the pool of community mediators in 13 CARICOM Member States and assist in the development of a legislative framework within which mediations may be conducted. IMPACT Justice has already conducted community mediation training in Barbados, Dominica, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Prof. Velma Newton, IMPACT Justice Regional Project Director, stated, “We are seeking to increase the number of individuals who are available to assist in solving disputes at the community level before they escalate and have to be taken to the court. The idea of using mediation is to redirect some cases away from the courts.”
Although this was the first community mediation training programme undertaken in Grenada, the Project facilitated a Court-connected Mediation Refresher course for mediators in Grenada in March, 2015.