IMPACT Justice: 21 More Community Mediators Certified
Barbados now has 21 additional certified community mediators. This follows a five-day Community Mediation workshop made possible by the Canadian Government through the Improved Access to Justice in the Caribbean (IMPACT Justice) Project. The total number of community mediators in Barbados trained under the Project’s Practical Mediation Skills Training course now stands at 43.
Professor Velma Newton, regional project director, IMPACT Justice, highlighted that the training goes towards increasing the number of community mediators locally as a means of redirecting some cases away from the courts.
“We are all well aware of the challenges that the courts face in terms of case backlogs. If we are able to divert a number of matters with disputes away from the formal courts to other channels the greater the likelihood of getting speedier resolutions. Mediation provides would-be litigants with such an avenue and will be key in addressing the backlogs in the court systems around the region,” she said.
Newton explained that mediation was suitable for all types of matters, ranging from disputes between neighbours to those involving businesses.
“As a Project, we aim to provide CARICOM citizens with greater access to justice. A large portion of the Project’s funds has been allocated to mediation as an Alternative Dispute Resolution option,” she said.
“IMPACT Justice wants to educate citizens of the region about mediation and other ADR options. We want to increase the number of persons qualified to provide mediation services. We want to ensure that people know where to go to access mediation services in their country and we are currently drafting model mediation legislation for consideration by governments.”
The recently certified group encompassed professionals with legal and non-legal backgrounds. These included probation officers, faith ministers, social workers, justices of the peace, labour officers, teachers and others who are required to solve conflicts as part of their jobs.
The first cohort of 22 community mediators to participate in the community mediation training course coordinated by the IMPACT Justice Project, received their certification earlier this year.