NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Bahamas branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators recently met with the Minister of Economic Affairs Michael Halkitis and Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Ryan Pinder on a virtual courtesy call to discuss the future of arbitration.
During the call, the Branch was provided with an update on the status of upcoming legislation and the extent of the legislative reform being undertaken by the Government to support alternative dispute resolution, particularly for arbitration and mediation.
The Branch was able to discuss opportunities for collaboration with the Government of The Bahamas, including the establishment of a physical centre for alternative dispute resolution as a public-private partnership, the creation of a registry of trained professionals in alternative dispute resolution, funding for student training, and the inclusion of alternative dispute resolution clauses in Government contracts.
Halkitis and Pinder were joined by other representatives of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, including Permanent Secretary Janice Miller, and Arbitration Consultant Theominique Nottage, as they met with the Executive Committee of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
Halkitis said he believes talks will further enhance the nation’s competitiveness as the government revamps its economic development and investment models.
“Our transformative plans require us to make large strides towards building a viable framework in which our policies and initiatives will operate,” he said.
“Businesses and investors interested in The Bahamas want to know that, should a dispute arise, there are appropriate mechanisms in place for their disagreements to be resolved in an efficient, cost-effective way. That is why it is so important for us to fully develop an empowered alternative dispute resolution professional community as we accelerate our agenda.”
The Bahamian government is moving towards becoming an International Arbitration Centre to support the diversification of the country’s economic model and the kinds of investment opportunities available. In the coming months, the government is expected to enact the International Commercial Arbitration Bill (2021) that incorporates the UNCITRAL Model Law and enhances The Bahamas as a preferred jurisdiction for international commercial arbitration.
Founded in 2010, under the auspices of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators based in London, England, the Bahamian branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators is a part of the world’s largest organization of alternative dispute resolution professionals.
The organization focuses on education, training, networking, and promoting the benefits of alternative dispute resolution. The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Bahamas Branch boasts a membership of more than 80 people, including 16 Fellows with four members appointed as Approved Faculty. The local branch has served as a strategic partner of the Government of The Bahamas for the past several years and has been instrumental in the reform of the legislative framework to support alternative dispute resolution in The Bahamas.
Both ministers expressed their willingness to collaborate with the Branch, supporting its work and goals where possible.
“As we make progress on our slate of reforms, collaborative efforts with organizations like the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators will be the driving force behind effective policy development,” said Halkitis.
“We will continue to engage these important stakeholders throughout our term in office, relying on their subject matter expertise to better inform our work. We look forward to what we can achieve together.”