JIS News

The Government has moved another step closer to improving Jamaica's court system, with the signing of a $399 million contract to begin the construction of Phase One of Justice Square in downtown Kingston.

The contract, awarded to MLO construction, will see the project being completed within 13 months, and involve extensive renovation of the old National Commercial Bank (NCB) building on King Street, downtown Kingston; the refurbishing of the Supreme Court, and the Court of Appeal, and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

“We have 12 Supreme Courts in the Supreme Court building…phase one, which is what we are signing today, will see an expansion from 12 to 19,” said Chairman of the National Court Implementation Committee (NCIC), Ferris Ziadie.

He explained that a bridge will also be built linking the buildings, to avoid officers of the court having to use the streets and, possibly, being harassed. A contract is to be signed soon. The NCIC was set up to modernise and enhance the court facilities across the island, beginning with Justice Square.

The other phase of the project, details of which are to be revealed by Justice Minister and Attorney General, Hon. Dorothy Lightbourne, involves the expansion of the Court of Appeal.

“The contracts for that are being fine-tuned and we are going to sign those contracts in very short order, but the procurement process has been completed,” Mr. Ziadie noted.

Miss Lightbourne welcomed the contract signing and expressed her appreciation for the contribution of all the stakeholders.

The old NCB building will house four courtrooms, four judges’ chambers and two chambers for masters of the Supreme Court, as well as the high court civil registry, registry for matrimonial matters, witness rooms, police posts, and holding areas.

At the Supreme Court there will be demolition of some components and new renovation works, and alterations of the existing ground and third floors, in addition to mechanical and electrical engineering works to the renovated areas.