Chief Justice Ivor Archie. –
On November 12, Chief Justice Ivor Archie presented members of the Mediation Board of TT with their instruments of appointment.
The ceremony was held at the Hugh Wooding Law School, Gordon Street, St Augustine.
A media release said the ceremony’s date was symbolic, because November 10-16 was designated Mediation Week by a past board.
The purpose of the Mediation Board is to promote mediation as a reliable and accessible conflict resolution mechanism, the release said. The board is a regulatory body created by the Mediation Act No 8 of 2004.
On October 20, Progressive Party political leader Nikoli Edwards called on the government to ensure a mediation board was appointed.
On the absence of a board, he said, “There are many citizens, including me, who have pursued studies in mediation to help offer solutions to how we deal with conflicts across this country.We have applied for certification and are yet to have our applications attended to, as there is no board in place.”
Edwards told Newsday the government could not claim to be serious about dealing with crime and violence “while at the same time not providing viable avenues to deal with the conflicts citizens face daily.”
The release said, “Though the instruments were only delivered last week, the appointment of the new board took effect on August 29.”
The board is chaired by Justice Lisa Ramsumair-Hinds and held its first meeting on October 27.
Responding to the media release on Thursday, Edwards said, “What is alarming is, the board was appointed in August and only met in October. Only recently, members received their instruments of appointment.
“This is indicative that mediation is not being given the kind of respect it deserves. It is not a priority of the government, even at the Office of the President. It is very disappointing to the many young people who decided to practise mediation, and attend university, in the hope they could offer their services to TT.”
He said the board must set out a plan for “how they will deal with the backlog of application for certification they would have received for the past two years.”
Edwards said a group has been formed, Mediators of TT, but several of its members “feel stuck and question if they wasted their time at university,” because they have not been able to be certified and get on to the roster at the Judiciary.
“While we welcome the news of the appointment, we are very disappointed with this entire process. We’re disappointed that no statement was made, when we were questioning whether or not a board had been appointed.
“It seems as though, for the purpose of simply quelling concerns, that the Judiciary put out that press release, but gave no further information about the way forward, when it comes to mediation.”
New Mediation Board
Justice Lisa Ramsumair-Hinds, chair
Carl Quamina, deputy chair
Delicia Bethelmy, acting secretary
Zelica Haynes-Soo Hon
Kathleen George Marcelle
Dr Astra Kassiram
Dr Katija Khan
Prof Derek A Chadee