Minister of Commerce and International Business Donville Inniss is calling for changes to the structure of the body responsible for policing the conduct of lawyers on the island. Inniss told a workshop on Caribbean Commercial Law Monday morning that the Bar Association should be relegated to an association of lawyers, and not be retained as a body that deals with matters pertaining to the discipline of attorneys.
According to Inniss, there is need for a “less incestuous and more independent structure to address issues” pertaining to the legal profession.
“I’m therefore a strong advocate for the establishment in law of a new legal services council – similar in structure and form to that of the medical council; a council that comprises of members of the legal profession and individuals who may not be attorneys; a council that is supported not just by statute, but also by the resources of the state.
“If we are truly to have a legal profession in Barbados, as opposed to just . . . a collection of lawyers, then we as a society and you as lawyers, must unshackle your minds and help create a system that not just sustains faith in your profession, but also enhances the profession,” Inniss told the workshop.
The minister also called for more international law firms in Barbados, arguing this would enhance the island’s domicile as a market for international business, trade and finance. At the same time he urged local law firms to work towards establishing themselves regionally and internationally.
He announced plans for the establishment of a Caribbean Court of Arbitration and Mediation in Barbados, revealing that the Freundel Stuart administration had been presented with the blueprint for such a body.
“My ministry is in the final part of consultations with other relevant ministries and I expect to invite my Cabinet colleagues to deliberate on this shortly. And I say to you that we are treating it as a business case to be operated as a business, void of the layers of bureaucracy that exists elsewhere.
“I am satisfied that if it is that the establishment of this Caribbean Court of Arbitration and Mediation in Barbados, I am satisfied that it is a financial and human resource investment that will genuinely assist Barbados and the region in becoming a centre of excellence for commercial and corporate law practices in the region,” Inniss said.