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The Ministry of Justice, on Thursday (January 25), signed two contracts totalling $26.63 million for the purchase and installation of elevators in the Supreme Court and for the construction of Petty Session facilities at the Santa Cruz Courthouse in St. Elizabeth.
The contract for the installation of the elevators in the Supreme Court, amounting to $16.43 Million, was awarded to Comfortair Engineering Ltd.
Speaking at the signing, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Carol Palmer said “the elevators which we are seeking to install at the Supreme Court building . are intended to bring an appreciable measure of improved access and security to that premises”.
Noting that two sets of elevators would be installed Mrs. Palmer said that one was intended to transport prisoners to and from the courtrooms from the ground floor when the courts are sitting, while the second set of elevators “is for the easy access of persons who are physically challenged, and members of the judiciary who may opt to use it”.
Meanwhile, A1 Construction Limited has been contracted to undertake the building of the Petty Session facility on the compound of the Santa Cruz Courthouse.
The facility, which will cost $10.2 million, is scheduled to be completed over a four-month period, beginning on January 28.
Mrs. Palmer noted that the move was “clear .evidence of the commitment of the Ministry of Justice to enhance the facilities that are dedicated to the dispensing of justice in this country”.
These enhancements are a part of efforts to improve court facilities across the island. An overall tour and assessment of the infrastructure needs of the justice sector was done in 2002, and the Ministry has made significant strides in improving the conditions of the island’s courthouses.
Among other construction projects underway is the building of the new Port Antonio Court house, which is on target to be completed and handed over to the Ministry of Justice in November 2007.