The [Chartered Institute of Arbitrators]( (CIArb) launched its Bahamas Chapter on 7 June 2010 at the British Colonial Hilton in downtown Nassau. Now, one year later, the Bahamas Chapter has been upgraded to full Branch status. “*This is an extraordinary achievement for The Bahamas,”* Branch Chairperson Bertha Cooper-Rousseau says. She points out that the Branch status allows for considerably greater autonomy in directing education and training, and should strengthen the jurisdiction’s arbitral reputation, positioning it as a serious contender in the international arena. *“We already have cutting edge arbitration legislation that was facilitated by the government and encouraged by the Bahamas Shipowners Association and the Bahamas Financial Services Board.*”

An arbitration/dispute resolution option to litigation certainly benefits the broader economy. According to the Chairperson, *“Disputes in the shipping and financial services industry, as well as construction and commercial matters can now be confidently referred to qualified Bahamian arbitrators.”* She believes the foundation is in place to position The Bahamas as an international arbitration seat, and points to discussions around establishing a Nassau centre focused on financial services, and a Freeport location focused on maritime, oil and gas resolution.

The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) is a not-for-profit, UK registered charity working in the public interest through an international network of branches. It has a global membership of around 12,000 individuals who have professional training in private dispute resolution. It exists for the global promotion, facilitation and development of all forms of private dispute resolution to maximise the contribution that dispute resolution practitioners make.