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A complex, which houses a police station and courthouse, was officially opened yesterday (Nov. 18) in the Cambridge community of St. James.
A joint initiative of the Ministries of National Security and Justice, the project, undertaken at a cost of $65 million, involved the refurbishing of a 200-year old building to house the facilities. The court facility is on the upper floor, with two court rooms – one for the Resident Magistrate’s Court and the other for Petty Session hearings.
The ground floor contains the police station, with an improved holding area for detainees, offices for senior officers and an improved recreational area. Residents from communities such as Cambridge, Catadupa, Seven Rivers, Mountpelier, Anchovy and other adjoining areas, will benefit from the project.
Chief Justice, Zaila McCalla, in her remarks at the opening ceremony, said that steps have been taken to transfer some of the workload from the Montego Bay Court to the Cambridge Court.
“I have given instructions to the senior Resident Magistrate to start setting some civil cases in this court, in order to lessen the time and expense of litigants having to travel to Montego Bay to have their matters heard,” she stated, noting that a Petty Sessions Court will be held on first and third Fridays.
She pointed out that the Cambridge Court has been used since the beginning of October with 144 cases listed, 75 of which were Petty Sessions cases. Additional sittings will commence at the beginning of 2009, she indicated.
Assistant Commissioner of Police, in charge of area one, Denver Frater, welcomed the new police station, noting that the police will now be better able to respond to citizens’ needs.
Minister of National Security, Senator Trevor MacMillan and Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Senator Dorothy Lightbourne, also attended the opening ceremony.