Arbitration Week, facilitated between June 24th to 30th, 2018, was presented under the theme, “Arbitration on the Move: Framework, Industries and Economic Development”, with a focus on continuing capacity building efforts for arbitration practitioners in Jamaica and the region. It was also an effort to expand international recognition for Jamaica as an interested party in the arbitration sector, an expanding field. The brainchild of Dr. Christopher Malcolm, FCIArb, Secretary General of the Jamaica International Arbitration Centre Limited and Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, the week of activities included training workshops, a two-day conference, a lecture and reception and culminated with a cultural social activity – Jamaica Night.
The first main event, the Maurice Stoppi Lecture and Reception, honoured Mr. Maurice Stoppi, CD, a leading arbitrator and scholarly contributor to the sector since the early 1970s. Fondly labelled ‘The Godfather of Arbitration’, a term Mr. Stoppi humbly embraces, he describes himself as always being a proponent of the peaceful settlement of disputes which has guided his life’s work. Regarding the reception and citation received, Mr. Stoppi stated, “I never thought I deserved such a ceremony, especially by people I have such a high regard for.”
The week continued with a conference that focused on examining the status of arbitration in the region and its applicability in resolving disputes across sports, construction and maritime industries, to name a few. In discussing the importance of the week, Dr. Malcolm shared that it was really fuelled by a recognition of the value of arbitration in making Jamaica more attractive for investment. Our reality is that the country does not generate sufficient income domestically, which results in a heavy reliance on international business.
Arbitration’s role in this is that it serves as a principal mechanism for resolving international trade and investment disputes. Thus, an appealing infrastructure is needed to court global investors for development, who are generally more comfortable with an arbitration system versus a court system which can be costly, lengthy and limited by jurisdictions. Arbitration rulings are applicable in 158 countries. Additionally, arbitration can relieve some of the backlogs in our court system by serving as another option to settle disputes.
The week ended on a high note with Jamaica Night hosted at ‘The Ruins’ at Mona Visitors’ Lodge, where conference participants and general members of the public, were able to partake in the cultural marvels of the Fab 5 Band and Ashe, while enjoying Jamaican food, drink, art and fashion. The conference attracted guests from Singapore, Mauritius, Ghana, Latin America, India, Barbados and many others.
Arbitration Week is a development initiative under the Jamaica International Arbitration Centre Limited (JAIAC) and the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) and is the first of its kind to be hosted in the Caribbean. For more information contact Ms. Nordia Henry, Communications & Marketing Officer at the JCC Secretariat at (876) 922-0150-1 or firstname.lastname@example.org.