|AG looks at improving court system in Grand Bahama|
|Saturday, 18 August 2012 08:04|
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama – Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Senator The Hon. Z.C. Allyson Maynard Gibson in her first official visit to Grand Bahama August 16 made it clear that her team was in Grand Bahama to carry out the Prime Minister’s mandate on the war on crime.
She said the mandate details that there be the most relentless and sustained assault on crime ever in The Bahamas.
The Minister said one of her ministry’s main focus is that of swift justice, explaining that “swift justice is really an administrative tool where all of the stakeholders in the administration of justice meet on a regular basis to make sure that cases actually do go through the system on time and in a swift and effective and efficient manner.”
She said for that to happen, the stakeholders have to be working together in a very smooth and efficient manner. Therefore they need to be properly equipped, not just with staff but in terms of capital resources, buildings and the necessary tools to allow them to function effectively.
Minister Gibson traveled to Grand Bahama with a number of senior persons from her ministry including the Minister of State in the Ministry of Legal Affairs, the Hon. Damien Gomez, and the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Attorney General, Archie Nairn.They visited all the courts in Freeport and the one in Eight Mile Rock and according to the minister, had an excellent working lunch with the magistrates. She also informed of additional staffing for the Attorney General’s office in Grand Bahama and improved accommodations that allows for a more improved and productive output.
With regards to the meeting with the magistrates, the Attorney General said they had some very serious concerns which they will address systematically over the next few years.
She also informed of their visit with officials at the Supreme Court, the Industrial Tribunal and the Registrar General's Department.
“I do want to signal to the public what I told our team in the Registrar General's Department and that is, in our view, the Registrar General’s Department is, if not the most, certainly one of the most important agencies in government.
“Everybody within our borders at some point in their lifetime has to deal with the Registrar General’s Department, for birth to death and everywhere in between, conveyance, mortgage, forming a company, a business trade name and on and on.
“And so, we want to be sure that people in The Bahamas and who are outside of The Bahamas, wherever they are in the world in 2012 and going forward, can interact with the Registrar General’s Department on a twenty-four/seven/365 basis.
“And so what we are moving towards in the short term, not the long term, the short term, is the ability for people whether they are in Singapore, New York, Australia, where ever they are, the west coast of the United States, to be able do business with the Registrar General’s Department,” Mrs. Gibson stated.
She noted that in the twenty-first century this is a possibility and something that we will see happen in The Bahamas.
Continuing she noted that like the Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville had pointed, it is extremely important for Grand Bahama on its mandate going forward as island in The Bahamas that is going to have the mixture of hospitality and industry, people would want to be able to effectively and efficiently operate with the Registrar General’s Department.
“They would also want to be satisfied that any dispute they have will be swiftly resolved. So not only are we enhancing our administration of justice in the Supreme Courts and Magistrates' Courts, but we also intend to have in Grand Bahama an International Arbitration Centre,” she added.
Minister Gibson informed that her team, along with the Minister for Grand Bahama and senior officers from that ministry, met with senior executives at the Grand Bahama Port Authority on Thursday.
She described that as being “an excellent meeting” and that official at the G.B. Port Authority restated a commitment that was made some years ago by past Chairman, the late Edward St George that the Grand Bahama Port Authority was prepared to build an Arbitration complex.
She said that they look forward to working with them to accomplish that end and would wish within this five year period to see the centre constructed, operating effectively and opening many new business and opportunities for Bahamians.
Mr.s Maynard Gibson also stated that she told GBPA officials that she would like the Prime Minister to come down for ground-breaking ceremonies before the end of the year. Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville added that he would be working closely with the GBPA to find a suitable location for the Centre.
Both Ministers assured residents that it is their intent to make Grand Bahama a suitable place in which to live and do business.
Photo: Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs the Hon. Allyson Maynard Gibson was in Grand Bahama August 16 and paid a courtesy call on the Minister for Grand Bahama before touring the various courts on the island. Pictured left to right: Melvin Seymour, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry for Grand Bahama; the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville, Minister for Grand Bahama; Mrs. Maynard Gibson; Hon. Damien Gomez, Minister of State in the Ministry of Legal Affairs; and Archie Nairn, Permanent Secretary, Office of the Attorney General.
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