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Report on the OHADAC - CARICHAM Webinar, February 23th 2021

  • 2021-03-04
  • 3401

ACP Legal and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Guadeloupe Islands are pleased to confirm the holding of a webinar dedicated to the opening of the Centre d'arbitrage régional OHADAC (CARO), on February 23th 2021, on the theme “The OHADAC Regional Arbitration and Mediation Centre and its objectives for the Caribbean”.

This webinar was part of the “CARICHAM Regional Growth Series”, webinar series designed to support the Chambers of Commerce and Industry members of the Caribbean Chambers of Commerce (CARICHAM) network.

The project to establish the CARO Centre is funded by European development funds from the Interreg V Caribbean program. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Guadeloupe Islands have been the dynamic leader on the project in partnership with the association ACP Legal, which has been carrying out the OHADAC project since 2007.

The CARICHAM network (https://www.caribbeanchambers.net) was formed in 2019 and comprises 21 Caribbean chambers of commerce. These institutions have chosen to cooperate in order to promote economic growth and development on their territory and at the regional level.

The upcoming CARO Centre and the ACP Legal Association are pleased to be counted among CARICHAM's privileged interlocutors, and look forward to the joint work that will be carried out in the coming months and years.

The webinar was the occasion to present the various services that the CARO Centre will offer at its opening and to discuss with professionals in the region on the need for the creation of the Centre. The webinar was held with the perspective to give adequate responses to the economic and legal needs of the Caribbean region and to promote its development.

This webinar was held in English and hosted by Béatrice Ilias, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Haiti.

The guest speakers were as follows:

• Denis Lesueur, President of the Economic Prospective and Regional Cooperation Commission at Guadeloupe Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry, leader of the project.

Denis Lesueur presented the origins of the OHADAC project, which has been designed and implemented by the ACP Legal Association, founded in 2007.

He highlighted the interest of the CARO Centre through an economic perspective as it will bring the 33 Member States of the OHADAC zone closer.

He insisted on the culture and common legal issues that remain despite differences in legal and linguistic systems.

He mentioned the value of litigation management by a Regional Centre in order to avoid “above ground” arbitrations, handled by professionals with little knowledge of regional realities, and often rather costly.

• Shan Greer, Attorney at law, Mediator and Arbitrator, Co-founder of the Caribbean ADR Initiative.

Shan Greer shared her expertise on the importance of the use of ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution Methods) in the economic field and in business law within the Caribbean basin.

She stressed the economic, financial and relational costs that litigation can entail and highlighted the different types of benefits (relational and commercial) of ADR. By their flexibility, speed and discretion they offer an economic and legal guarantee to the actors of the business world.

• John Bassie, Attorney at law, Certified Arbitrator and Mediator at the Supreme Court of Jamaica, President-elect of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators for the year 2023, Founder of the Caribbean Branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Dispute Resolution Foundation (Jamaica).

John Bassie provided an overview of ADR in the region and presented a contemporary context in which ADR operates today. He stressed the need for harmonization of legislation, and how ADR can play a decisive role in regional economic and legal development, contributing to better access to justice.

• Me Marie-Camille Pitton, Attorney at Law at the Versailles Bar and the New-York Bar, Consultant for ACP Legal for the OHADAC project, Former Adviser to the Arbitration Court of the International Chamber of Commerce.

Marie-Camille Pitton shed light on the services that the Centre will provide. She recalled the common interests that unite the 33 States of the OHADAC region and the objective of openness pursued by the CARO Centre, consistent with the action of the Caribbean institutions. The CARO Centre will offer guarantees of neutrality and expertise; procedures to control deadlines and budgets that meet the needs of the parties.

The offer provided by the CARO Centre includes mediation, facilitation (project mediation), arbitration and expertise.

Marie-Camille Pitton stressed the importance of collaboration between the various organizations and partners in the Caribbean region, and discussed the future training that will be provided in the region. She also talked about the creation of committees in the region, at the local level, to represent the CARO Centre. She presented the “free mediation” initiative put in place by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Guadeloupe Islands during the summer of 2020. Thanks to this initiative, free mediation services were offered to local businesses to assist them in the context of the resumption of their operations following the 2020 confinement measures. This was a first concrete step made toward the key actors that are the small and medium sized businesses, in order to participate to the development of their activities in the Caribbean region.

• Sir Dennis Byron, former President of the Caribbean Court of Justice former President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and former Chief Justice of the OECS Court of Appeal

Sir Dennis Byron welcomed the OHADAC initiative and stressed the need for a harmonisation of business law in a unique region divided between various legal and judicial systems, speaking five languages and with more than 20 million inhabitants.

He stressed the need for a better legal integration of the region's islands and the use of ADR in trade law as a means of achieving this goal. He advocated for greater integration within the Caribbean basin, as well as a better international positioning for the region and its practitioners.

Sir Dennis insisted on highlighting the achievements of the OHADAC project in the field of harmonization in business law, although he regrets that most model laws are not always adopted by the Caribbean States.

To conclude, he highlighted the unprecedented and unique opportunity for regional integration that the opening of the CARO center represents.

The webinar provided an opportunity for many participants to ask questions and engage with the panel.

The full webinar is available at the following link: https://zoom.us/rec/share/jYjXo6PNS8Nr6Ulk5sMtvHoj9f_KboOKfEwXTf0-xlLluPXz2iZ_GpyG7hxqWrUX.0c26U6uVNQBKJqhz
The password is: Q$gF9k2L

For more information, please contact the project team at contact@ohadac.com.

The OHADAC project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the auspices of the INTERREG CARAÏBES programme
Interreg Caraïbe
Union Européenne
OHADAC
CCI des iles de Guadeloupe
ACP Legal