JIS News

Ground was broken in Lucea yesterday (February 18) for the construction of a modern family court, fully equipped with technology and amenities consistent with a state-of-the art facility.
The courthouse will be located on Watson Taylor Drive in the Hanover capital, at the site of the old family court, which was demolished to make way for the new structure. The project, which is estimated to be completed in seven months, and will house two courtrooms, two judges’ chambers, two attorney interviewing rooms, offices for the clerk of court and other administrative officers.
Other features include three counselling rooms, children waiting area, nursing and play area, holding areas for male and female, separate holding area for young offenders, office space for counselling and probation officers, court reporting facilities, and library.
The project is being funded by the European Union (EU), which earlier this month, signed an $87.5 million contract with the Ministry of Justice and the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) for the undertaking.
Head of Delegation of the European Commission in Jamaica, Marco Mazzocchi Alemanni, said it is hoped that the Lucea Family Court will set the standard for the construction of future structures in Jamaica.
He informed that the project is being financed under the Poverty Reduction Programme (PRP) 2, which is valued at $1.3 billion, and is focused on improving the overall living conditions in volatile and vulnerable communities.
“That will comprise infrastructure projects, for instance, the rehabilitation of 13 schools that has already been approved. There will be homes for senior citizens, community centres and much more; all of this in volatile and vulnerable communities, because we think that this is one of the ways to help fight this terrible plague of crime,” he stated.
He informed that his organisation will be working in close collaboration with the Ministry of National Security on projects to do with parenting and youth development, employment and internships, youth camps and scholarships.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Senator the Hon. Dorothy Lightbourne, in her address at the groundbreaking ceremony thanked the EU for its substantial support, noting that the project is one example of the organisation’s commitment to investing in the welfare of Jamaica.
She said that one of the Ministry’s main objectives for this financial year is to establish a sound court infrastructure, while noting that the new Lucea Family Court will serve to improve access to justice for those who use the facility.
“It is said that the family is the cornerstone of the society and as such, the family court has a role to play in supporting Jamaican families,” she stated.
“This family court is one more step for this administration in fulfilling our commitment to develop and deliver a justice system that is fair, available, accessible, accountable, affordable, flexible, timely and most important of all respectful,” she emphasised.
Senior Resident Magistrate, Justice Dionne Gallimore-Rose, in welcoming the project, expressed gratitude and heartfelt appreciation on behalf of the Lucea Family Court, to all who played a part in seeing to the implementation of the project.
For the past 10 years, family court cases in Hanover have been tried at the Lucea Resident Magistrate’s Court building due to the dilapidated state of the structure on Watson Taylor Drive.