Supreme Court conducts refresher mediation training
The Supreme Court along with the Judicial Reform and Institutional Strengthening (JURIST) Project is currently in the process of conducting a refresher training mediation workshops in Berbice, Region Six and Georgetown, Region Four.
The two-day workshop in Georgetown opened on Wednesday at the Marriot Hotel while the Berbice workshop concluded on Tuesday at the Little Rock Suites in New Amsterdam.
The Judicial Reform and Institutional Strengthening (JURIST) Project is a five-year regional Caribbean judicial reform initiative funded under an arrangement with the Government of Canada. The Project is being implemented on behalf of Global
Affairs Canada (GAC) and the Conference of Heads of Judiciary of CARICOM (the Conference), by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which was appointed by the Conference as its Regional Executing Agency (REA). The Project is working with judiciaries in the region to support their own efforts to improve court administration and strengthen the ability of the courts and the judiciary to resolve cases efficiently and fairly.
In New Amsterdam, it was the first refresher training in Berbice since the first grout of mediators was trained in 2011.
Mediation in Berbice has been almost non-existent. That is according to Director of Mediation Services International Attorney at Law Jamela Ali. Speaking at the opening of the workshop in New Amsterdam she said in Berbice mediators have not been given the opportunity to utilize their skills.
She noted that the Berbice Mediation Centre is underutilised.
“Since interest in mediation in Berbice has been low key, it is not surprising that in 2018, the numbers of mediators have dwindled a bit, for various reasons. But What is of significance is that Mediation seems not to have been developed or encouraged in Berbice and Mediators not given much Opportunities to utilize their skills acquired since 2011. In this regard, It is our objective that at the end of the session tomorrow, the mediation skills of the participants would have been strengthened and sharpened, there will be a renewed interest for mediation in this beautiful County of Berbice so that Berbicians can utilize the newly constructed Berbice Mediation’ Centre and benefit from your skill,” she said.
Mediation, as used in law, is a form of alternative dispute resolution or a way of resolving disputes between two or more parties with concrete effects. Typically, a third party, the mediator assists the parties to negotiate a settlement.
Ali said while the need exists greatly in Berbice for retraining of mediators, their counterparts in Georgetown are no less in need of such training.
Meanwhile, Project Director of the Judicial Reform and Institutional Strengthen (JURIST) Project Gloria Richards Johnson noted that the training is a milestone in the life of JURIST. She explained that it is their goal to enhance the capacity of Guyana’s mediators in court-connected mediation.
She said they have made great strides thus far and the project has completed several initiatives which include, Guidelines for Sexual Offence Cases; Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning, Training on court administration and adjudication that is gender responsive and Customer focused; Re-engineering of business processes in selected courts to identify backlogs, introduce technology to eliminate backlogs and expedite the process, and undertake training for a more efficient administration.
In giving some statistics on the meditation system in Guyana, Solicitor and Mediator Rafina Rahim noted that of 880 cases the court through the trial Judge directed 772 for mediation and of that number 108 matters were settled before actual mediation while 48 of matters successfully mediated where an agreement was reached.
However, in 228 matters, the mediation was unsuccessfully and referred to trial. Rahim said some 338 of the matters which were referred to mediation, only some of the issues were resolved and 98 were returned to trial.