CEREMONY TO LAUNCH MEDIATION TRAINING – CHIEF JUSTICE’S SPEECH
Today marks a new day in the history of the Judiciary of Turks and Caicos Islands. After this brief ceremony, we commence the introduction of Mediation as part of the Judicial system of these Islands.
I thank the valiant ladies and gentlemen who have decided to pioneer a new system of dispute resolution in these Islands. These pioneering persons, all of them accomplished in various disciplines and busy in their chosen line of work, have decided to make the time to participate in this 40-hour training to become certified Mediators. I thank you for the interest you have shown in the introduction of Court-Connected Mediation. I hope that the interest will translate into commitment and staying power to finish this course. My further hope is that after receiving your certificates, you will be willing to perform tasks as Mediators.
Mediation is one of the recognized methods of alternative dispute resolution. It brings feuding parties to the table they choose for themselves by the choice of their Mediator. At the table, they have control of the dispute, aided by the Mediator who is a Neutral Person. Together, they resolve the dispute and go away knowing they if they conceded ground, they did so willingly. Their dispute may be resolved, just as they seek to do when they commence their cases in the court. Unlike court proceedings which sometimes leave a trail of broken relationships even after a dispute is successfully resolved, however, Mediation and other methods of alternative dispute resolution have the track record of preserving relationships.
Court-Connected Mediation does not, as some people suppose, trivialize a dispute. On the contrary, it aims at giving control of what divides parties into their hands under the controlled system of the court. Accessing it is voluntary; parties make the choice to resolve their dispute by resort to mediation. The new Mediation Rules allow for the issues that would have been determined by the Judge or Magistrate to be identified and set out for the parties to understand their respective positions clearly ,and from that vantage point, to work through with the opposing party until each is satisfied with the result. If the dispute is successfully resolved, the outcome is reduced into writing and adopted as the judgment of the court for enforcement with the court’s enforcement mechanisms. If no agreement results, the court takes over to use the method of litigation to achieve that purpose. There is therefore nothing to lose in choosing mediation, and everything to gain, from speed, to control of their business, to lack of cumbersome and rules and procedures, and an outcome one can be satisfied with.
It is my view that as Court-Connected Mediation takes off, the citizens and residents of these Islands will benefit immensely, if for no reason, because they have been given a choice in the way they wish to have their disputes resolved.
I must thank the University of the West Indies. I am in no doubt that while the subject of Mediation may have itself been a draw for the many people who have applied to be trained, partnering with you has been the lure. In my view, your reputation is what has persuaded applicants of the weight to accord this new program.
Today we train the first batch of twenty persons.
Because the response to our invitation has been overwhelming, we shall be training four or five more batches after this one. We hope you will accommodate us.
Today is a new day in the Turks and Caicos Islands and I invite all to celebrate with us.
I thank all present, for joining hands with the Judiciary in or initiatives.
I thank you