JIS News

Minister of Justice and Attorney General Senator A.J. Nicholson, has said that a new courthouse would be constructed in Port Antonio by the middle of next year, to replace the one destroyed by fire a few months ago.
Senator Nicholson, who was speaking at a function held recently at the old Port Antonio Marina to hand over official seals to Justices of the Peace (JPs) in the parish, said the new facility would be built on lands adjacent to the Island Traffic Authority office in the Boundbrook area of the town.
He informed that construction of the building would begin within the next four weeks and was expected to be completed by the middle of next year. Among its features would be separate sections to house a high court and a family court.
Senator Nicholson noted that the judges’ and lawyers’ rooms of the new building are to be fully equipped.
He stated that the construction of the new courthouse would be done concurrently with refurbishing work on the old facility, which has been made available to the National Commercial Bank (NCB) on a 50-year lease agreement, for it to be transformed into a heritage site.
Since the fire, court hearings have been conducted at the Council Chamber of the Portland Parish Council and the Port Antonio Police Station.
The Attorney General apologised to residents for the inconvenience caused by the abandonment of the old courthouse, but said that a “significant sum of money” has been spent to improve conditions at the Buff Bay Courthouse, in an effort to ensure that the process of justice was not jeopardised in the parish.
Meanwhile, a total of 110 JPs received official seals during the function. Senator Nicholson said that Jamaica was the first English-speaking Caribbean country to make such provisions for JPs, and urged the recipients to carefully protect the instruments “to prevent them from falling into the hands of persons who will use them for undesirable purposes”.
He thanked the JPs for their service to the country and mentioned plans to provide official offices for the Custos of Portland and the President of the Portland Lay Magistrates Association, from where they would conduct their duties.

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