Bahamas Accelerating Efforts to Become Commercial Arbitration Centre for Caribbean Region

The Government of the Bahamas has determined that the ‘time is right’ to accelerate efforts to establish the country as a Commercial Arbitration Centre. According to Minister of Financial Services and Local Government, Hon. Hope Strachan, the Government intends to establish The Bahamas as a hub to resolve international investments disputes with a focus on emerging markets.

The Minister was speaking during the opening ceremony for the 4th Annual Arbitration and Investments Summit, Caribbean, Latin America and Other Emerging Markets 2016. The event was held at the Harry C. Moore Library at the College of The Bahamas on 22nd January 2016.

Minister Strachan said: “We believe that due to The Bahamas’ strategic location, its proximity to the Caribbean and North and South America, and the easy travel access to other emerging markets, The Bahamas is poised to become a neutral, state-of-the-art arbitral centre, where economic disputes arising between parties in these countries may be resolved.”

She said, however, that the Government is aware that in order to be successful, it has to create a highly ‘sophisticated and modern’ arbitration central, which is equal to or better than the competition’s. To this end, the Minister pointed out that the Government has been moving expeditiously to ensure that the necessary legislative framework and infrastructure is established.

In addition, the Government needs to build capacity by equipping and training practitioners to the highest degree possible. As a result, a review of the existing legislation is currently underway.

Other measures being taken include a consultative period for The Bahamas Commercial Arbitration Bill 2016 by the Law Reform Commission, with the objective of amending the current Bahamas Arbitration Act 2009.

The Minister said that the Bahamas as an arbitration hub would present a ‘myriad’ of opportunities for Professionals in a cross-section of industries including, Maritime and cruise ships; trusts and banking sector; trade partnerships and other opportunities, which may exist in other industries.

The two-day Summit was moderated by Dr. Peter D. Maynard, Head of the Law Department, the College of The Bahamas. A series of presentations were made on a variety of topics including: Maritime and Cruise Ship Arbitration Making Waves; Financial Services, Trade and Commercial Disputes, Arbitration and Mediation as Effective ADR mechanisms; Arbitration from a Global Perspective: New Trends, Staying Competitive and Taking the lead; and Opening of Cuba and the Region Investment Arbitration: What does the Future Hold for the Bahamas, Cuba and Other Emerging Markets.

The Bahamas Journal