KINGSTON — A $15.3 million contract has been signed by the Ministry of Justice for the construction of a pedestrian bridge to connect the Supreme Court building to the old National Commercial Bank (NCB) complex on Barry Street, in downtown Kingston, which is being rehabilitated to provide more court rooms and space for judges.
The contract was signed yesterday, at the offices of the Ministry of Justice in Kingston.
Scheduled to begin within the next two months, the construction forms part of Phase 1 of the establishment of Justice Square, which will accommodate the expansion of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
It will also facilitate offices for the newly created Court Management Service (CMS), which will give the Chief Justice autonomy in the management of the courts.
Speaking to JIS News following the contract signing, Justice Minister and Attorney General, Senator the Hon. Dorothy Lightbourne said this undertaking is in keeping with the Government’s commitment to improve the judicial system.
“This expansion of the Supreme Court will facilitate the provision of more judges, more court rooms, more rooms for witnesses, more Masters’ Chambers, more Judges’ Chambers, so that we can meet our commitment, which is access to justice and speedy and fair resolution of cases,” she said.
Chairman of the Justice Ministry’s National Court Implementation Committee (NCIC), Ferris Ziadie, told JIS News that the preparation of the site to anchor the bridge, will last approximately two months, while the actual construction period will be six months.
He noted that linking both buildings will expand the entire Supreme Court by 12 additional court facilities.
Phase 1 of Justice Square began subsequent to the Ministry’s signing of a contract valued at $399 million on February 23, 2011, that incorporated repair works on the Supreme Court and the old NCB building, which began in April 2011.
The old NCB building will house four courtrooms, four judges’ chambers and two rooms for the Masters in Chambers of the Supreme Court. The building will also house the Supreme Court civil registry, the registry for matrimonial matters, holding areas, two witnesses’ rooms, a police post, and support areas for the full staff complement.
Renovations at the Supreme Court will see three additional courtrooms, three Judges’ Chambers and one room for the Masters in Chambers, as well as a jury deliberation room.
By ALECIA SMITH, JIS Reporter