The Ministry of Financial Services today hosted a Practitioners Dialogue 101 Luncheon/Lecture entitled “International Arbitration & Its Benefits for My Practice”.
Guest speakers were Professor Jan Paulsson, Consultant at the Ministry of Financial Services, and Attorney Clyde Lea. Professor Paulsson addressed the question of how arbitration benefits law practices, while Attorney Lee provided a debriefing on a market research survey questionnaire for potential end users of The Bahamas International Arbitration Centre. The findings of the questionnaire will be used to formulate a roadmap for the development of the Centre.
The Hon. C.V. Hope Strachan, M.P., Minister of Financial Services, said her Ministry is committed to ensuring that a strategic and comprehensive capacity building programme for The Bahamas International Arbitration Centre is firmly entrenched in the National Development Plan. Professor Paulsson, a pre-eminent scholar and world renowned international arbitrator, is providing guidance in areas such as sustainable in-country training for professionals. Also reported were steps being pursued to enact the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration. Such will enable this jurisdiction to harmonize its international commercial arbitration regime with other countries and different legal and economic systems.
*”We believe that establishing The Bahamas as a major international arbitration hub, will not only complement our legal profession, but also our financial services, maritime services, foreign direct investment projects, and international business initiatives,”* said Minister Strachan.
Earlier this month, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, The Hon. Frederick Mitchell, along with MoFS Consultant Bertha Cooper-Rousseau met with H.E. Hugo Sibliesz, Secretary General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, to discuss The Bahamas becoming a State Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration. *“I am pleased to advise that we are in the advanced stages of satisfying the necessary procedural steps towards this end*”, said Minister Strachan. She continued, *“We are also undertaking steps for The Bahamas to become a host country for Permanent Court of Arbitration-administered hearings based in the region. This would be an honour for The Bahamas and would significantly boost its profile within the international arbitral community.”*
In keeping with its efforts to provide comprehensive and cutting edge training on international arbitration to professionals in The Bahamas, the Ministry of Financial Services has invited the Principal Legal Officer of UNCITRAL to conduct a lecture and technical workshop on the impact of the Model Law and the development of The Bahamas International Arbitration Centre. This will be held on 13th & 14th November.
Additionally, at the 1st October meeting referenced earlier, the Secretary General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration expressed a keen interest in joining other international arbitration institutions in facilitating training programs for young professionals during The Bahamas Arbitration Week in March, 2016.
Minister Strachan concluded her remarks at the lecture today by noting that her Ministry is determined to make considerable efforts to enhance a conducive environment for financial services and investment. *“We must look towards a future whereby The Bahamas will become a jurisdiction that will provide legal and arbitration services to the region. We have a phenomenal amount of opportunities at our doorstep and we will do well to embrace each and every one before they are seized by other jurisdictions in the region.”*