Presentation by Hendrik Alimahomed, Director of the Caribbean Regional Information and Translation Institute (CRITI)
on the occasion of the signing of the Cooperation Agreement between CRITI and the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)
Date: 16 April 2015
Venue: Caribbean Court of Justice building Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Mr. President of the Caribbean Court of Justice, Sir Charles Byron,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am proud and honoured to be here today for the signing of the Agreement of Cooperation between the Caribbean Court of Justice and the Caribbean Regional Information and Translation Institute. Let me take this opportunity to heartily congratulate you Mr. President and your dedicated team at CCJ on this occasion, the 10th Anniversary of the Caribbean Court of Justice, on behalf of CRITI’s Advisory Committee and staff. This anniversary is indeed a milestone and an opportunity to celebrate the remarkable achievements to date in CCJ’s effort to “protect and promote the rule of law as a court of final appeal and as guardian of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas” within CARICOM member states.
CRITI and CCJ have been indissolubly connected to each other, since the very moment of the formal decision by the Ministers of CARIFORUM to establish CRITI.
The then Ministers Meeting had indeed envisaged that CRITI would be instrumental in supporting the non-English speaking member states by providing high quality translations in French and Dutch of court decisions, jurisdiction, and court documents which are presented to the Caribbean Community in English, recognizing that the linguistic diversity within the Caribbean region was posing serious challenges to the non-English speaking member states. This is precisely what we have committed ourselves to in this Agreement.
In doing so CRITI and CCJ are giving effect to an important democratic principle in interstate relations, which is the equality of states, especially in a multilingual regional organisations in which communication is an important asset for successful cooperation.
The Agreement we are signing today also demonstrates the commitment of the Court and CRITI to implement the United Nations General Assembly Resolution Res/61/266 and the UNESCO Resolution 30C/62 on the support of the use of mother tongue in official communications through which maximum transparency and a better understanding of complex technical matters of a juridical nature will be achieved.
Recalling that in January 2008 the office of CRITI was inaugurated with Suriname hosting the institute and providing the building at its own cost. The European Commission has supported the establishment of CRITI through the provision of 9th and 10th EDF resources for which we are ever grateful. Since its inauguration, CRITI has grown significantly. We have 3 professional translators in-house, 60 highly qualified freelance translators and 15 interpreters, residing in the cornerstone of the world, that is, Spain, the Netherlands, France, United States of America, Jamaica, Haiti, Barbados, Trinidad, Suriname, Guyana, Brazil, French Guiana, El Salvador and Honduras. For the successful implementation of this Agreement, CRITI has already identified 2 Legal Translators English-Dutch-English and is now in the process of selecting Professional Legal Translators English-French-English. CCJ in collaboration with CRITI, has agreed to provide assistance with respect to training of our newly identified legal translators.
CRITI’s objective is to provide high quality translations from English into Dutch, French and Spanish and vice versa to the public and private sector of the CARIFORUM member states and interpretation services and related services to stakeholders as well as information based on our translations with the prior approval of our clients. In the past years we have provided services to the Governments of Suriname and Haiti, to CARICOM, CARIFORUM, ITU, PAHO, IDB, OAS, CCJ, CEDA, FAO-UN, CROSQ, UNESCO, UNASUR, Embassies, Caribbean Development Bank, University of Suriname and many others.
I further take this opportunity to inform you that CRITI has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Suriname for the translation of the existing legislation of Suriname and legislation yet to be established, from Dutch into English and Spanish, thus contributing to the advancement of the operations of the CCJ and making this information accessible to member states, the private sector of the Caribbean and potential investors.
We feel honoured and privileged that the Court, by signing this Agreement with CRITI, has designated CRITI as its preferred translator, thus, contributing towards its sustainability at the same time this places serious responsibility on our shoulders.
The translations provided by CRITI to the CCJ will especially facilitate the judicial system in providing the CARICOM population with information in their own language thus making the Court accessible to all citizens of CARICOM, no matter the language.
The CCJ and the Translation Department of the European Union will cooperate with CRITI to develop a Caribbean Legal Terminology Database that shall be accessible through CRITI by its regional and international translators and experts, supporting the endeavours of translators in the region to deliver high quality translations. This activity is also part of our arrangements included in the Agreement.
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
As I conclude, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to CARIFORUM Ministers, the Secretary- General of CARIFORUM/CARICOM, the European Union Delegation, the Director-General CARIFORUM, CRITI’s Advisory Committee and all others who have supported our organization and more so, my warm appreciation to CCJ for the excellent arrangements at this occasion.
We are looking forward to the continuation of our good cooperation, in doing so, contributing to integration in the region and creating a community for all.
I thank you.