MOU Seals Collaboration Between University of The Bahamas and the Bahamas Judiciary
University of The Bahamas (UB) and the Bahamas Judiciary have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that provides for enhanced collaborations between the two, the first of its kind in The Bahamas between the court system and a higher education institution.
Chair of the UB Board of Trustees Mrs. Allyson Maynard Gibson hailed the historic nature of the formalised relationship during a press conference held at UB’s Oakes Field Campus on Thursday 21stJuly.
Mrs. Maynard Gibson explained that under the agreement UB will work closely with the Bahamas Judicial Education Institute (BJEI) to provide professional development for judicial officers, faculty, staff and students and conduct research for data-based decisions to enhance the administration of justice. It also provides for avenues to expand dialogue on civic responsibility and fostering a better understanding of various issues from access to justice and human rights to sexual offences and human trafficking.
“I would like, especially, 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,” she said.
As colloquia and other platforms for discussions are held, the aim is also to improve the channels of communication between justice professionals and members of the public so that there is a better understanding of how the courts operate, the needs and reasonable expectations of persons in civil society on the overall administration of justice and the challenges faced by justice officers.
“This is especially important as we have just celebrated our 49thanniversary of Bahamian independence and stand on the cusp of our 50thanniversary as a sovereign nation,” said Mrs. Maynard Gibson. “This moment demands that we plan ahead for our next 50 years and beyond. Therefore, in this new era of our national life, increasing our capacity for good governance, which includes the administration of justice, and applying our intellectual and human resources to implement effective solutions are paramount for sustainable development.”
Adding further context, Chief Justice Sir Brian Moree said that long gone are the days when the court system operated in its own silo without direct engagement with civil society.
“The administration of justice is a collaborative exercise involving all stakeholders and it is important for the judiciary to establish relationships with suitable institutions within our country to enhance the work of the courts and increase access to justice for all persons,” he said.
The agreement paves the way for UB faculty to work directly with members of the BJEI, which was established through a declaration of the Chief Justice in 2019.
“It is my expectation that the activities under the MOU will result in new teaching and learning initiatives between the Judiciary and the UB and more opportunities for educational and intellectual exchanges between members of civil society on subjects of national interest.
“We look forward to exploring with UB the many opportunities which will arise from this new relationship under the MOU between academia and the judiciary. It will certainly supplement our resources in key areas such as research, collection of empirical data, ongoing professional training and development, and building institutional capacity,” the Chief Justice added.
President of UB Dr. Rodney D. Smith noted that forging this kind of collaboration between the university and the judiciary is well placed considering the institution’s mission is inextricably linked to national development.
“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,” he said.
The MOU is initially for a period of two years with an option to renew it with the consent of both parties.
Office of University Relations
University of The Bahamas
2ndFloor, Michael H. Eldon Complex
Oakes Field Campus
P.O. Box N-4912
Nassau, The Bahamas
Tel: (242) 302-4355/4354/4365
Chartered on 10th November 2016, University of The Bahamas (UB) is a beacon for national transformation. Approximately 5,000 students are enrolled in the University of The Bahamas system which includes campuses and centres on New Providence, Grand Bahama and, San Salvador, as well as UB online education. UB’s diverse academic programmes, research engagements, athletics and leadership development experiences equip our students to become global citizens in a dynamic world.