The first OECS Mediator Refresher Training Programme being conducted by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) got underway at the La Flamboyant Hotel in Roseau on Monday.
The project dubbed Improved Access to Justice in the Caribbean ( IMPACT Justice) is funded by the Canadian government in the amount of Canadian $19.2-million.
The two-day training is expected to sharpen the skills of mediators and providing them with the additional tools to be effective mediators.
Regional Project Director of Improved Access to Justice in the Caribbean (IMPACT Justice), Professor Velma Newton, who was addressing the opening ceremony said the two main components of the project are, “drafting our legislation at the request of governments and alternative dispute resolution.”
“The three aspects of alternative dispute resolution on which we are focusing are; mediation, arbitration and conflict resolution using restorative justice practices,” she said.
According to Professor Newton, they are in negotiation with three governments, Barbados, St. Kitts and St. Vincent, for community peace building and the use of restorative practices.
“As far as mediation is concerned, it is an extreme importance for us to move as soon as possible and as rapidly as possible on mediation, because like so many others before us we see it as a means of reducing the number of cases in court and new cases being filed in court and also if we can have community mediation introduced in various countries around the Caribbean, it would mean to us that we can have persons go to trained mediators and hear problems that do not have to go to court,” she explained.
She stated further that the main objective of the training is to, “increase capacity, increase expertise so wherever the expertise exist in a particular country or sub-region, we will be using the person of that country or sub-region.”
“The next step would be from those people who are trained initially to chose persons who can go the next step, who can be trained as trainers, because the project is about sustainability,” Newton stated.
Professor Newton hopes that the training session will be very successful and participants will benefit from it.
Meantime, Facilitator and Mediation Coordinator for the OECS, Francis Compton, calls for full participation and cooperation for the next two days.
Mediator (Coach) Lenore St.Croix will also be facilitating this training programme.
The next training sessions will be held in Grenada and St Vincent.