Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 14, 2019 (SKNIS): The value of promoting peaceful resolutions between parties is being advanced in St. Kitts and Nevis with the launch of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court’s (ECSC) Mediation Public Awareness Campaign on Tuesday, November 12, 2019.
The initiative, which is supported by the Canadian-funded Judicial Reform and Institutional Strengthening (JURIST) Project, is aimed at communicating the contents of the year-long public awareness campaign with members of the public and the media.
Her Ladyship, the Honourable Dame Janice Pereira, Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC), who was in the Federation to partake in the event, said that “mediation is an alternative to dispute resolution,” noting that “the courts are not the only option.”
Chief Justice Pereira outlined the value of mediation.
“It has so many benefits to the justice system. It is an enhancer to the entire justice system because it facilitates a medium that is less time consuming, less costly to everyone and importantly, a mechanism where both sides can walk away feeling a sense of satisfaction, not feeling that families and friendships and associations are destroyed or damaged,” said the chief justice.
The Honourable Janice Pereira said that mediation is a tool that will assist in achieving good order, peace and security.
The Honourable Vincent Byron Jr., Attorney-General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, said the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis fully endorses the mediation programme. He made mention of the construction of the Annex which will be situated where the old electoral office was once housed.
“We [the government] are currently engaged in improving the facilities that would be used by our new court certified mediators when we, early next year, would bring onboard the Annex to the Sir Lee Llewellyn Moore Judicial and Legal Complex, where we would have there a new mediation centre,” he said. “This Mediation Centre would allow for the plans of the court to expand the mediation process. We would have in place some three chambers that would be ready and available for mediation for various matters and we would be enhancing the staff to compliment that,” Minister Byron added.
In her welcome remarks, Her Ladyship, the Honourable Justice Gertel Thom, Justice of Appeal and Chairman of the Judicial Education Institute, said that, “for the mediation process to be fully utilized it was necessary for the public to become more informed of the mediation process and of the many benefits.”
Her Ladyship Thom said it was extremely important to establish the programme in St. Kitts and Nevis.
“Our communities have long been accustomed to disputes being settled in the courts by judicial officers. Change as we all know is not often readily embraced, more so, when it is not clearly understood,” said Her Ladyship Thom. “It is against this background that the Mediation Public Awareness Campaign is being launched in the Federation of St. Christopher and Nevis.”
The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) was established in 1967 by the West Indies Associated States Supreme Court Order No. 223 of 1967. The ECSC is a superior court of record for the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), including six Independent States: Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines; and three British Overseas Territories: Anguilla, The British Virgin Islands, and Montserrat. The Court has unlimited jurisdiction in each Member State and Territory.