A contract valued at $90.87 million has been signed between the Ministry of Justice and Contraxx Enterprise Limited, for the establishment of a Family Court facility, in St. Ann’s Bay, St. Ann.
The signing took place on Wednesday (February 24), at the Ministry’s Constant Spring Road offices in Kingston.
The scope of work will include the retrofitting and internal renovation of a two-storey concrete building; establishment of a fit-for-purpose facility comprising courtrooms, Judges’ Chambers, office spaces, restroom facilities, lobby area, welfare facilities, child-friendly waiting and holding areas, access staircase and associated external works.
It is expected that the project will get under way in short order and be completed by October.
In his address, Justice Minister, Hon. Delroy Chuck, said the signing of the contract represents an important investment, which will boost the capacity of the justice system to better serve families in St. Ann.
“It is another step in my hope that all the facilities can be adequately provided to the judiciary. This is the second of two family courts which we will be providing you with this year, the other is the renovation of a family court in Mandeville,” the Minister said.
Mr. Chuck urged the contractor to deliver on their agreement to complete the court facility by October.
For her part, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Sancia Bennett-Templer, said that the establishment of the court forms part of the Ministry’s thrust to enhance justice services by improving court facilities across the island.
“The signing of this contract is timely. This is a designated facility to serve the residents of St. Ann and will address the need to improve justice services offered in the parish. The addition of a family court in St Ann is also important, as family courts in general are essential to the administration of disputes involving families and play an integral role in protecting the rights of the most vulnerable,” she said.
In addition to the signing of the contract, Mrs. Bennett-Templer informed that work is in progress for the procurement of furniture, communications technology and other equipment for the courts.
Meanwhile, Chief Justice, Bryan Sykes, welcomed the establishment of the St. Ann Family Court facility, noting that it will provide much needed assistance to families “when they have the kinds of matters that are best suited for those courts”.
“This is an additional family court that is being contemplated and it is a welcome development, and one of my expectations is that at the end of my tenure as Chief Justice, which is a few short years away, we will have a family court in each parish,” he said.
Family courts have been established in Kingston and St. Andrew, Trelawny, St. James, Hanover, Westmoreland, and Clarendon.