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By Shan Greer – NazranRoth Consultant – St Lucia

FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT WITHIN THE CARIBBEAN HAS EXPONENTIALLY INCREASED OVER THE PAST 40 YEARS with both the United States and China appearing at the top of the list in almost all jurisdictions within the region. Given the complexities and increased risks involved in international commercial transactions, disputes arising under these contracts are frequently resolved by arbitration. Arbitration is one of the various methods available to parties who wish to resolve their disputes by an independent third party outside of the court process. Since the National Court is not directly involved in the decision-making or administration of the dispute, the parties have more control over the dispute resolution process, making it more efficient and cost effective. From an international investor’s perspective, arbitration is an attractive proposition as it gives them an opportunity to avoid the local court system and tailor the dispute resolution procedure to meet the needs of the specific transaction. Historically, arbitration has not enjoyed a particularly good reputation within the Caribbean. In addition to lacking modernized arbitration acts, some countries have failed to become a party to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Arbitral Awards. This Convention is one of the key instruments in international arbitration that facilitates enforcement of arbitration awards across jurisdictions. Further, until relatively recently, the region lacked suitably qualified arbitrators, which further restricted the use of arbitration as a method of dispute resolution. These challenges have been recognized by several national, regional and international organisations, most notably the World Bank. In its Doing Business Report, published annually, the World Bank has repeatedly identified the time and cost for resolving commercial disputes in the Caribbean as a barrier to the ease of doing business. Recognising the importance of facilitating trade between investors within and outside of the Caribbean region, over the past ten years, various public and private sector organisations have worked diligently towards creating an environment that promotes the effective resolution of international disputes by arbitration. A key part of the process of change includes modernizing arbitration legislation and establishing arbitration centres with the capacity to handle complex, multinational disputes. In this regard, islands such as the British Virgin Islands, Jamaica and Barbados are blazing the trail for the remainder of the Caribbean, with Trinidad, St. Lucia and Bahamas following steadily behind. Having created the necessary infrastructure to facilitate arbitration, the Caribbean region has now turned its attention to building capacity amongst its citizens. Together with various international, regional and local organisations,


Shan Greer has worked towards providing the necessary training to qualify regional professionals as international arbitrators. Ms. Greer is a Caribbean arbitrator, mediator and lawyer with over 17 years experience in disputes involving construction, banking, insurance, intellectual property, energy, and employment. Ms. Greer possesses international arbitration credentials including qualification as a Fellow with the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a Masters degree in Construction Law and Dispute Resolution from Kings College London. One of Ms. Greer’s most recent initiatives, in her capacity as Chair of the Dispute Resolution Association, has been the creation of a Fast Track Arbitration Panel in the island of Saint Lucia. This panel has been specifically designed for contractual disputes that are relatively simple in nature and is administered with a simplified set of rules, which make the process fast, efficient and simple. Under this programme, Ms. Greer has assisted in training a cadre of local professionals including lawyers, accountants, engineers, architects, contractors and businesspersons. It is hoped that this initiative will serve to build the private sector’s confidence in doing business on the island by providing a cost effective and timely method of resolving disputes. It will also act as an example to other countries in the region as to how arbitration can play a role, not only in attracting investment into the country, but as a means of creating local employment

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