Gov't moving ahead with Arbitration Center
Freeport News Reporter
The Government of The Bahamas is moving full steam ahead with an International Arbitration Center in Grand Bahama, and following talks with the Grand Bahama Port Authority yesterday, Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson said the Port has recommitted to building this center.
"We had an excellent meeting with the President of the Grand Bahama Port Authority, and they have restated a commitment that was made in 2005 by then Chairman Edward St. George that the Port Authority is prepared to build the Arbitration Complex and so we look forward to working with them to accomplish that end.
"We look forward within this five-year period to seeing that center constructed, working effectively and opening many new vistas and opportunities for young Bahamians."
Gibson said they are also hopeful in having the ground-breaking for the center with the Prime Minister before the end of this year.
Gibson was accompanied in her visit by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Justice Damien Gomez; Permanent Secretary Archie Nairn; Acting Director of Legal Affairs Antoinette Bonomy; Director of Public Prosecutions Venette Graham-Allen; and Cleopatra Christie, consultant in the AG's office.
During a press conference following the visit, Gibson said their visit was part of the Prime Minister's mandate that there be the most relentless and sustained assault on crime ever in The Bahamas.
"The aspect that we particularly do that is obvious to the community is swift justice, and swift justice is really an administrative tool where all the stakeholders in the administration of justice meet on a regular basis to make sure that cases do go through the system on time and in a swift, effective and efficient manner.
"For that to happen the stakeholders have to be working together in a very smooth and efficient manner, and therefore they need to be properly equipped not just staff wise but in terms of capital, resources, and so forth and so on, including buildings. So that really is what we have been looking at here in Grand Bahama."
She noted that during their visit they also went to Eight Mile Rock.
"We visited the Attorney General's office in Freeport where there will be some staff enhancements, and we are looking at the matter of office accommodations to accommodate those staff enhancements and to make it even more comfortable for a more efficient productive output for those who work in the Attorney General's office in Grand Bahama.
"We visited the Magistrates Courts in Eight Mile Rock and Freeport, we had an excellent working lunch with the magistrates. They have some very serious concerns which we hope that we will be able to address systematically over the next few years, and we also had visits with officials from the Supreme court.
"We visited the Industrial Tribunal where they also have concerns and we hope similarly to address those concerns, and finally we visited the Registrar General's department and I do want to signal to the public what I told the team in the Registrar General's department, that in our view the Registrar General's department is, if not the most, one of the most important agencies in government. Everyone within our borders at some point in their lifetime has to deal with the Registrar General's department, from birth to death and everywhere in between.
"So we want to be sure that people who are in and outside The Bahamas in 2012, and going further, can interact with the Registrar General's office 24/7, 365 basis.
"What we are moving toward in the short term is the ability for people to access the Registrar General's department. In the 21st century this is a possibility and it is something we will see happen in The Bahamas. It is extremely important for Grand Bahama because on its mandate going forward as an island in The Bahamas it's going to have that mixture of hospitality and industry."
She also promised to make quarterly visits to Grand Bahama as part of her work, adding that in her next visit she hopes to meet with the members of the legal community.
Gomez in his short address stressed the government will spare no effort in ensuring law and order is upheld throughout the entire commonwealth.
"To that end, our resources will be deployed and our people in Grand Bahama and the Attorney General's office and Ministry of Legal Affairs will be fully equipped to deal with whatever difficulties that they may encounter. We have the political will to ensure that we make a difference in the crime rate."
© 2012 The Freeport News