Hurricane Irma will go down as one of the most destructive weather events in modern history, but CEO of the BVI International Arbitration Centre (BVI-IAC) Francois Lassalle has described the category 5 disaster as a blessing.
“From an arbitration perspective, there was a silver lining. The hurricane attracted a lot of international attention on the institution and I managed to have quite a few articles published in renowned arbitration publications off the back of what happened. We received a lot of publicity internationally and my sense is that brand-awareness has vastly improved and that is quite critical for any institution,” Lassalle said during an interview with BVI News yesterday.
He said the BVI-IAC now plans to use the publicity from the hurricane as a marketing tool for the centre going forward.
“I noticed that when I attended conferences in Miami in November, people knew about us, knew what happened, and knew a lot more about the BVI-IAC than we would have expected them to; which is a good sign.”
“It is something that I am going to try to harvest to the best of my ability,” added Lassalle who further said the BVI-IAC has received cases since its opening.
First year on target
The CEO of the BVI-IAC said things are going as planned with the relatively-new facility.
“Admittedly, to have received four notices of arbitration for the centre was very good,” he noted.
Lassalle said out of the four cases, the centre rejected three because they did not want to start with cases that are likely to be appealed.
“We got time to do this properly and I don’t want to down-sell this institution. So, year-one was pretty much on target. Year-two; we shall see.”
Lassalle projected to deal with two to three cases in 2017, about 10 this year, and about 40 in next year.
The BVI-IAC is an independent statutory body, originally funded by the government to meet the demands of the international business community for neutral and impartial dispute resolution.
The centre is said to have an approximate 190-member panel of arbitrators from ‘all over the world’. The centre is located in the Ashley Ritter Building near Wickham’s Cay II.
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