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The National Commercial Bank (NCB) yesterday (Feb. 2) signed a $16 million contract with Stresscon Jamaica Limited for phase one works on the new Port Antonio Courthouse in Boundbrook, Portland.
The project, for which ground was broken in mid-2005, will also involve the rehabilitation of the existing courthouse to establish a NCB branch.
Speaking at the signing held at the Atrium on Trafalgar Road, Collin Davis, NCB’s in-house architect said the design for the new facility was 1800 Georgian style and the main feature of the building would be the coat of arms. “The front (of the building) is designed to reflect the classical period and this is aligned closely with the concept of the law,” he said.
The building will be planked in fine Jamaican limestone and the roof will be made of slate in order to resist the wind force, which occurs in that coastal area.
The architect said the courthouse has been designed to take into account all of the users with provisions for the disabled, who will be able to access all the facilities and would be taken to the first floor via a dedicated elevator.
Mr. Davis said the Port Antonio Courthouse would be the most modern of all the courthouses ever built in Jamaica. It will be outfitted with electronic data and management system, as well as audio-visual systems, which he said, “will ensure that as the court goes forward, the traditional mode of doing business can be revamped and the more modern way of doing business will be accommodated”.
The courthouse will facilitate sittings of the Portland circuit, the Resident Magistrate’s , petty sessions and the children’s court.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Senator A.J. Nicholson in accepting the architect’s pictorial concept of the building, thanked the bank on behalf of the Ministry, the government and the people of Jamaica.
He remarked that the design looked most imposing and that the finished building was highly anticipated. In his remarks at the groundbreaking ceremony last year, Senator Nicholson, said the Ministry was proud to be associated with the venture, which was “a partnership in development and institutional capacity building”.
He pointed out that the real beneficiaries of the partnership would be the people of Portland. Mr. Nicholson said the structure to be erected would require constant and studied care and maintenance “if it was to occupy a place of primacy in the developmental tapestry that was envisaged for Port Antonio”. Work is to begin on the first phase of the project in two weeks, while phase two, which comprises the main construction works, is expected to last for 12 to15 months and would cost up to $200 million, said Patrick Hylton, Group Managing Director of NCB.
Meanwhile, Mr. Hylton said the signing represented the collaboration between NCB and the government and underscored and demonstrated “what we can achieve when we work together”.