Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding yesterday (June 24) officially declared open the new Port Antonio Resident Magistrate’s Court at Boundbrook, Portland, with an appeal to the people of Portland to take ownership of the facility to protect it, to ensure it maintains the ambience and pristine quality so it can stand as an instrument for further advancement and development for the parish.
The Port Antonio Court House, was built at a cost of just over $280 million, and was handed over to the Ministry of Justice in August 2008. It is a partnership arrangement between the National Commercial Bank (NCB) and the Ministry of Justice which was initiated back in 2005.
Under the agreement, NCB agreed to renovate the historic Port Antonio Court House which will become the site of the new NCB Portland Branch. In return NCB had agreed to construct the new state of the art court facility. The new structure consists of all modern facilities, and has been designed with the same Georgian profile as the old court house which is the signature image of Portland.
Mr. Golding noted that, in his discussions with investors, they were becoming more and more concerned with the justice system, because they want to make sure that if they enter into an agreement for something to be done, they need to know there is somewhere they can go to have the matter dealt with quickly. “Increasingly we are recognising that we have to invest more and we have to spend more, but we don’t have the resources to make the investments as fast as we would like to,” and so, he said, government welcomed partnerships with private sector agencies such as the National Commercial Bank.
THE NEW IMPRESSIVE Port Antonio Resident Magistrate’s Court House looms large in the background and speaks to another great accomplishment of Government and private sector partnerships, according to Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding. The new structure has been designed with the same Georgian profile as the old Court House which is the signature image of Portland. The Court House was renovated by the National Commercial Bank under a two fold development plan between the bank and the Government of Jamaica. Posing with Prime Minister Golding are (l-r) NCB’s Group Chairman, Michael Lee-Chin and Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, Senator the Hon. Dorothy Lightbourne.
Mr. Golding echoed an earlier appeal made by the President of the Court of Appeal, Hon. Mr. Justice Seymour Panton, who warned that the building is to be regarded as an environment where the entire area is maintained, so that those who work in the area of justice in the parish will be encouraged to think and carry out the lofty ideals of justice.
“There cannot be any tolerance of anything that will affect the ambiance of the building, so there is no need for vendors to set up shacks or stalls anywhere within sight of the building,” Justice Panton warned. He called on the Parish Council and the police to do their work, and urged that the precincts not be allowed to become a taxi stand as too much shabbiness has been allowed to prevail over the decades.
Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, Senator the Hon. Dorothy Lightbourne said partnerships with all stakeholders are essential; and she expressed Government’s appreciation to NCB Chairman, Michael Lee-Chin, his staff and the Chairman of the National Court Implementation Committee, Mr. Ferris Zaidie, who she said all played a vital role in completing the construction of the new court house.