The 4th Annual Arbitration and Investment Summit 22-23 January, 2015, Bahamas


The CLA supported this event, together with other international organisations, through our council member for the Caribbean, Mr Peter Maynard and we thank him for this conference summary. 

Conference Summary 

“Taste the Rainbow.” This is a phrase that can be used to describe the variety of expertise that was showcased at the 4th Annual Arbitration and Investment Summit - Caribbean, Latin America and Other Emerging Markets. The variety of flavors that were represented at the Summit were from Albania, Aruba, Brazil, Czech Republic, Ghana, Jamaica, Kenya, London, Maryland, Miami, New York, Texas, Venezuela, and Washington. In addition to the above, The Bahamas exhibited a rainbow of expertise in arbitration, mediation and alternative dispute resolution. Over the two-day event there were about 80 persons that attended each day.  

In the opening statements, speakers took the opportunity to welcome and thank our partners for this year’s Summit, including the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Bahamas Branch, Commonwealth Lawyers Association, College of the Bahamas, World Jurist Association, among others.   

The sessions covered during the Summit were a wide assortment.

Session 1 focused on “Maritime and Cruise Ship Arbitration: Making Waves”. This session dealt with the strength of the Bahamian flag and how The Bahamas ought to create an Arbitration and Mediation Centre to be able to open the doors to, not only economic advantages, but also to be more competitive in the international arena. Many of the panellists were definitely of the view that The Bahamas is ideally placed to become a major player in the area of maritime arbitration.  

Session 2 dealt with “Financial Services, Trade and Commercial Disputes: Arbitration & Mediation as effective ADR Mechanisms”. The panellists in this session were all of a similar view that when dealing with financial services, arbitration and mediation is a preferred option of alternative dispute resolution. They also explained that The Bahamas is a perfect place for arbitration because it is one that is of a high quality, it has an independent judiciary, it has the necessary expertise in a variety of fields and it is capable to handle international disputes in a professional and fair manner.  

 “Arbitration from a Global Perspective: New Trends, Staying Competitive, and Taking the Lead” was the point of discussion in the Third Session. A common thread among the panellists was that there was an increasing number of arbitrations from 2005 to 2013. A noteworthy point of interest was that the figures showed that disputes arose more frequently where investments have been made. In recent years the greatest area for investment has been in East Asia, with a result of the increase of the case load of arbitration centres in Singapore, Malaysia and China.  

Session 4 dealt with “Opening up of Cuba and the Region Investment Arbitration: What does the Future Hold for The Bahamas, Cuba and Other Emerging Markets?” A common theme in this discussion was that the opening of Cuba is something that cannot be changed and should be embraced. But, the countries of the region should pick up in the areas that they may be lacking to compete with Cuba.  

 The discussion in Session 5 was centred on “Arbitration Centers in the Caribbean, Latin America and other Emerging Markets”. This session looked at the benefits that Arbitration Centres bring to a country. Some of the advantages are that firstly, arbitration is less formal than litigation; secondly, usually cheaper; thirdly, with arbitration you use arbitrators that are specialists within specific fields in dispute. These are just a few of the many advantages that arbitration offers.  

Session 6 dealt with “Opening up of Cuba: The Genie is out of the Bottle: Investment and Economic Development in Emerging Markets: Baha Mar and Other Major Hemisphere Projects”. This was a very lively and provocative topic, not only because of the issues emerging from Baha Mar, but also because the Deputy Prime Minister added valuable insights as a member of the panel. This discussion dealt issues emerging from the $3.5 billion resort known as Baha Mar and some of the suggestions on how to correct them and how to avoid this type of situation from occurring again.  

 In concluding the second eventful day, the Nassau Declaration was read, containing ten conclusions of the Summit (attached).  We once again thanked our partners, notably the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Bahamas Branch, Commonwealth Lawyers Association, College of the Bahamas, and World Jurist Association, for their support and commitment regarding the Summit.  

Overall this event was a successful event at a very economic fee. The level of expertise offered in the room far exceeded expectations. We received comments from those that attended the Summit such as:  “It was a triumph”, 
“The speakers were great, and the topics were very enlightening”, 
“A splendid Summit and I am looking forward to next year’s as well”, 
“Your selection of speakers and topics were very divers and the information brought to the participants was of great value”, and I most certainly gleaned a lot from this training and look forward to any further training you may organise.”   

If you missed this event, you truly missed a great event. Therefore, we have already set the date for next year’s summit for 27th January, 2017. So, register today so that you don’t miss out again!!!  

Following the summit a copy of the declaration was sent to the CLA council who considered and formally accepted it.  A copy of the Nassau Declaration is available here  

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