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Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Justice is looking to acquire property in Montego Bay for the building of a regional court facility to serve the western end of the island.
  • Portfolio Minister, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, said discussions are underway with the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) for the acquisition of five to six acres of land.
  • Senator Golding , who was addressing the opening of three key offices of the Ministry in the second city on Tuesday, July 7, said once an agreement is reached with the UDC, then work on the project will get underway.

The Ministry of Justice is looking to acquire property in Montego Bay for the building of a regional court facility to serve the western end of the island.

Portfolio Minister, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, said discussions are underway with the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) for the acquisition of five to six acres of land.

“The plan for that is to establish a western regional court facility, which will have a permanent branch of the Supreme Court and also modern facilities for the Resident Magistrate’s and Family courts,” he said.

Senator Golding , who was addressing the opening of three key offices of the Ministry in the second city on Tuesday, July 7, said once an agreement is reached with the UDC, then work on the project will get underway.

Turning to other projects, he informed that courthouses are being refurbished in Black River and Santa Cruz in St. Elizabeth, and Buff Bay in Portland.

Court facilities in Gordon Town and Morant Bay in St. Andrew and St. Thomas respectively, were upgraded and reopened earlier this year.

Improvement works were also undertaken at the Supreme Court in Kingston where seven courtrooms were built, in addition to four judges’ chambers, two rooms for masters in chamber, a witness room, and a police post.

Meanwhile, the Justice Minister informed that there are plans to relocate the offices of the Ministry from expensive rented space to state-owned property.

As such, he said, the unused Government property at 2 Hagley Park Road, which formerly accommodated the Ministry of Housing, has been provided to the Ministry of Justice.

“We are going to be renovating that building and we will be moving the Ministry of Justice from the high-rent environment where we now are, owned by the private sector…to the government-owned property and using public assets to provide public services,” he said.

Included in that project is the setting up of two traffic courts and a coroner’s court by next year.

The offices, which opened in Montego Bay, accommodate the Montego Bay Legal Aid Clinic, the Western Administrator General’s Department, and the Supreme Court Western Regional Registry. They are located at 42B Union Street in premises owned by the National Housing Trust (NHT).

Senator Golding said the setting up of the offices in western Jamaica, will ensure more efficient and effective delivery of justice-related services to citizens in western Jamaica.

The move, he said, forms part of measures by the Government to make justice accessible to all Jamaicans regardless of their location or socio-economic situation.

He said that once Jamaica stays the course in managing the debt problem “more resources will become available to the justice system and that will give us the resources that we need to undertake more capital works to build out a first class, first rate, justice system for our society.”