Betty Vedrine – Bahamas Information Services
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for collaboration was signed between the University of The Bahamas and the Bahamas Judicial Education Institute. The event was held in the President’s Boardroom at the Harry C. Moore Library and Information Centre at UB’s Oakesfield Campus, July 21, 2022.
Hon. Chief Justice, Sir Brian Moree, KT, QC, said that this MOU is reflective of efforts to modernize and reform the country’s court system. He said that the MOU will play a multi-faceted role in the carriage of justice.
“The MOU reflects the vital importance of education in the development of our country and provides for the Judiciary and the University of The Bahamas to jointly:
(i) engage in professional development programmes;
(ii) promote the importance of an independent Judiciary to protect democracy and the national values set forth in the Constitution of The Bahamas;
(iii) conduct research, utilize data to enhance decision making processes and support the allocation of resources;
(iv) promote accountability and transparency in the administration of justice and access to justice; and
(v) convene colloquia and other fora, to promote civic responsibility so that citizens become aware of their role in a peaceful and ordered society under the Rule of Law.
Outgoing President of the University of the Bahamas, Rodney D. Smith, said that the event marked another ‘significant’ step on the road to progress and transformation.
“This is not only for University of The Bahamas but for the wider Bahamian society. In short order, we are signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Bahamas Judicial Education Institute. This will catalyze increased avenues for education, research, expanding the base of knowledge and knowledge-sharing and fostering a deeper understanding of some of the most pivotal issues impacting the sustainable development of The Bahamas,” he said.
“We have a sacred responsibility to help steer the paradigm shift that elevates the Bahamian society and prepares our citizens to help move the country forward. And we continue to do so through the development of people and partnerships that advance our progress as an academy and a nation that will strengthen a collaborative relationship between the University and the Bahamas Judiciary
through the Bahamas Judicial Education Institute. This will catalyze increased avenues for education, research, expanding the base of knowledge and knowledge-sharing and fostering a deeper understanding of some of the most pivotal issues impacting the sustainable development of The Bahamas.”
UB Trustees Chair, Allyson Maynard Gibson said she especially wished to highlight the access to justice aspects of this MOU.
“Access to Justice is the golden thread through the UN2030 SDG Agenda. History shows that societies thrive and prosper when people feel that they have access to justice and that the judicial system is relevant to them and serves their needs.”
Under this agreement, she said that the University would work closely with the Bahamas Judicial Education Institute to impact critical areas including:
• Providing professional development opportunities for judicial officers as well as for faculty, staff and students;
• Conducting research and providing data to enhance decision-making on judicial administration and increase efficiencies. Data about the justice needs and experiences of people, including justice outcomes is rarely collected and is essential for people-centered justice; and
• Facilitating colloquia and other platforms for discussions that promote civic responsibility and fostering a better understanding of myriad issues from access to justice and human rights to sexual offences and human trafficking. Dialogue with justice professionals so that justice professionals may better understand what they can do better to support the needs of citizens and SMEs, and where
people can better understand the challenges faced by justice professionals.
“The collaboration and cooperation being solidified here today — the first of its kind in The Bahamas between higher education and the Bahamian judiciary – will promote our national commitment, as stated in our Constitution, “… to the Rule of Law and… the protection of the Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of the Individual,” she said.