Judge Ap­pointed to Rule on Com­mer­cial Mat­ters

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

Saint Lu­cia will soon have the abil­ity to set­tle com­mer­cial dis­putes with the ap­point­ment of a judge to rule on com­mer­cial mat­ters in a timely man­ner. High Court Judge Jus­tice Cadie St. Rose- Al­ber­tini was ap­pointed to pre­side over such mat­ters ef­fec­tive July 1, 2015 for the next three years. The Gov­ern­ment of Saint Lu­cia has iden­ti­fied the es­tab­lish­ment of a Com­mer­cial Di­vi­sion to its High Court as a high pri­or­ity re­form which will ul­ti­mately im­pact Saint Lu­cia’s com­pet­i­tive po­si­tion and its over­all de­vel­op­ment. In the 2013/2014 Bud­get Ad­dress, the Honourable Prime Min­is­ter en­dorsed the Di­vi­sion and part­nered with the Com­pete Caribbean Pro­gram for fund­ing sup­port in its im­ple­men­ta­tion.

This on­go­ing pro­ject is co­or­di­nated by the Na­tional Com­pet­i­tive­ness & Pro­duc­tiv­ity Coun­cil (NCPC) and the Min­istry of Le­gal Af­fairs in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. Last year, the NCPC with sup­port from Com­pete Caribbean em­barked on the de­sign of the Com­mer­cial Di­vi­sion to the High Court based on the ex­pe­ri­ences of a sim­i­lar court in the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands which has been in­ter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized as a good model. The de­sign is now com­plete and the NCPC as well as the Min­istry is in the process of tak­ing the nec­es­sary steps to es­tab­lish the Di­vi­sion.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the es­tab­lish­ment of this mech­a­nism will in­crease Saint Lu­cia’s com­pet­i­tive­ness in the re­gional and in­ter­na­tional mar­ket. The World Eco­nomic Fo­rum de­fines com­pet­i­tive­ness as “The set of in­sti­tu­tions, poli­cies and fac­tors that de­ter­mine the level of pro­duc­tiv­ity of a coun­try.”

There­fore, the pres­ence of a set of in­sti­tu­tions in a coun­try that sup­port busi­nesses re­sults in in­creased pro­duc­tiv­ity and com­pet­i­tive­ness. Thus, the oper­a­tions of a Com­mer­cial Di­vi­sion can im­pact the com­pet­i­tive­ness of a coun­try through the pro­mo­tion of busi­ness and in­vest­ment prospects. The Com­mer­cial Di­vi­sion may con­trib­ute to a healthy in­vest­ment cli­mate which en­cour­ages in­vest­ment into the coun­try thus lead­ing to eco­nomic growth.

This pro­ject will mark the start of en­hanc­ing the World Bank’s Ease of Do­ing Busi­ness Rank­ing for Saint Lu­cia and the over­all busi­ness cli­mate, through the En­forc­ing Con­tract in­di­ca­tor. For a num­ber of years, this has been one of Saint Lu­cia’s worst per­form­ing in­di­ca­tors. That is, in 2015 Saint Lu­cia ranks 145 out of 189 economies on this in­di­ca­tor. On av­er­age, it takes 635 days and 46 pro­ce­dures to set­tle a com­mer­cial dis­pute. Saint Lu­cia’s low rank­ing on this in­di­ca­tor is mainly due to the long de­lays in the trial and judg­ment phase. Fre­quently, af­ter a case is filed, the par­ties have to wait over a year for a court date.

In gen­eral, the hir­ing of a Res­i­dent Judge to rule on com­mer­cial dis­putes will re­sult in the speedy and ef­fi­cient res­o­lu­tion of com­mer­cial dis­putes, and per­mit the court to be com­pet­i­tive and to sup­port the busi­ness sec­tor. In coun­tries where con­tract en­force­ment is ef­fi­cient, busi­nesses are more likely to en­gage bor­row­ers and cus­tomers which will trans­late to more busi­ness ac­tiv­ity for firms.

It is ex­pected that the new Di­vi­sion will be for­mally opened by the end of this year. It is an­tic­i­pated that the Di­vi­sion will in­crease the ef­fi­ciency of the le­gal sys­tem to set­tle com­mer­cial mat­ters in­clud­ing con­tract en­force­ment.

The es­tab­lish­ment of the Com­mer­cial Di­vi­sion can­not be re­alised with­out the as­so­ci­ated leg­isla­tive amend­ments or changes. It is ex­pected that amend­ments will be made to the Code of Civil Pro­ce­dure and the Civil Code as well as other pieces of leg­is­la­tion per­ti­nent to the oper­a­tions of the Com­mer­cial Di­vi­sion. Com­pete Caribbean has pro­vided sup­port for the re­vi­sion of these pieces of leg­is­la­tion and will also as­sist in equip­ping the court.

An­gelie Tayliam and Kevin Daniel are the 2015 re­cip­i­ents of the “Hon. Dr. Kenny D. An­thony Award for Ex­cel­lence” at the Pri­mary School level.

As part of his con­tri­bu­tion to the grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony of the Plain View Com­bined School, Prime Min­is­ter An­thony in­tro­duced an “Award for Ex­cel­lence” in 2013, for the top achiever at the Com­mon En­trance Exam.

This year, two stu­dents topped the school and con­stituency with a score of 93.33%. Both stu­dents re­ceived a tro­phy and a mon­e­tary con­tri­bu­tion of $500 from the Prime Min­is­ter.

Miss Tayliam has been as­signed to the St. Joseph’s Con­vent School, while Mr. Kevin Daniel will be at­tend­ing the Vieux Fort Com­pre­hen­sive Sec­ondary School (La Ressource). Kevin Daniel is the first boy to be pre­sented with this award.

PM Kenny An­thony stand­ing proudly be­hind stu­dents An­gelie Tayliam

and Kevin Daniel of Plain View Com­bined School.

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