Conflict Resolution: Recognized Mediator Joe Issa Welcomes Guide for Caribbean

With no Caribbean island immune to conflicts within the home and in communities, recognized Conflict Mediator Joe Issa has welcomed the publication of a guide: Early Warning and Response Systems Design for Social Conflicts.

Commenting on the OAS and UNDP conflict resolution guide for the Caribbean and Latin America, Issa said “it is useful for the early detection of a looming conflict and what to do about it before it escalates into violence.”

“Most of the time we can see it coming but because of our untrained eye we let it slip and do nothing about it, only to learn later that the conflict had indeed escalated into a fight resulting in loss of life,” says Issa, adding, “If we nip it in the bud it won’t grow further.”

A civic leader and qualified conflict mediator with the requisite number of hours under his belt, Issa famously mediated a conflict which had the potential of unsettling the island and its governance structure.

Dispute Resolution Foundation

The country’s powerful 13 chambers of commerce had threatened to march to parliament if a tax on street lights, which the business community would have to pay, is not rolled back. Having been chosen to represent the chambers in their dispute with the government, Issa successfully negotiated the rollback of the tax.

The guide, which will be made available to policy makers in the region recognizes the critical role played by improved management capacity of national institutions in promoting peaceful dispute and conflict resolution.

“The guide will help public officials and civil society organisations create prevention mechanisms and improve conflict resolution in order to avoid the escalation of violence that could threaten individuals, groups and democratic governance altogether.

“Early warning and response systems are just one of the many existing tools in the arsenal of actions to prevent and address social conflict because it is more effective to invest in prevention and not pay the high political, social and human costs that these entail,” OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro, is quoted as saying.

OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro

Describing the critical importance of the guide, Luis Almagro said “it is the key in times of uncertainty and when there is a slowdown in economic activity, but social demands are still on the rise.”