Refurbished Santa Cruz RM Court Re-Opened

Photo: JIS Photographer Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding (right) with the assistance of (from left), President of the Senate, Senator Floyd Morris, and Chief Justice, Hon Zaila McCalla, cut the ribbon to officially open the newly renovated Santa Cruz Resident Magistrate’s Courthouse at the re-opening ceremony on Thursday, November 05. Looking on is special guest at the ceremony, Santa Cruz resident , Javani Parker ( background right).

Story Highlights

  • History was created on Thursday (November 5), when the country’s first vertical wheelchair lift access to a Courthouse, was commissioned into service at the Santa Cruz Resident Magistrate’s (RM) Court by Justice Minister, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding.
  • He noted that the installation was a significant achievement given the passage of the Disabilities Act in 2014, which makes provisions to safeguard and ensure the full and effective participation of persons with disabilities.
  • Senator Golding was speaking at the ceremony, marking the re-opening of the Santa Cruz Resident Magistrate’s Court building in St Elizabeth.

History was created on Thursday (November 5), when the country’s first vertical wheelchair lift access to a Courthouse, was commissioned into service at the Santa Cruz Resident Magistrate’s (RM) Court by Justice Minister, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding.

“The installation of this vital piece of equipment will ensure the independence of persons in wheel chairs in accessing the two-storey building. The ‘inclinator’ as it is called, is the first of its kind in the island’s courts,” the Justice Minister stated.

He noted that the installation was a significant achievement given the passage of the Disabilities Act in 2014, which makes provisions to safeguard and ensure the full and effective participation of persons with disabilities.

Senator Golding was speaking at the ceremony, marking the re-opening of the Santa Cruz Resident Magistrate’s Court building in St Elizabeth.

The inclinator features a 340 kg (750 lbs) capacity, back-up power supply and emergency stop and alarm and is dedicated to the assistance of wheelchair-bound as well as other persons with disabilities who use the Courthouse facilities.

The Justice Minister further noted that, it is the duty of the Government to ensure that persons with disabilities are given a fair and equal opportunity, to fully participate in general affairs, while maintaining their dignity.

“It is no secret that many of our Courthouses are woefully archaic to say the least and in need of desperate rehabilitative work.  If and when fiscal space becomes available, we will continue to push for funding, to undertake additional capital works to renovate our dilapidated court buildings ….and bring them to a standard where our judiciary…and court staff can operate in suitable conditions,” he said.

The Santa Cruz Resident Magistrate’s Courthouse was ordered closed by the St Elizabeth Health Department, when it became uninhabitable after being occupied by pigeons.

The Court House was refurbished at a cost of over $9 million and included the complete refurbishing of the interior of the courtroom, balcony and office including the refinishing of the floors.

Other works involved: total gutting and reconstruction of the water closets; new electrical distribution and fittings; new plumbing and fittings; fabrication and installation of pigeon deterring devices; partial pavement of the entry area, construction of a ramp, and the painting of the area for the police.

Meanwhile, Minister Golding informed that the Justice Ministry was currently undertaking much needed work on at least three of the island’s Courts, while two others were re-opened in the past year and half after a prolonged closure.

He urged users of courthouses and other justice-related facilities, to treat them with due care so that future users can benefit from work done, for years to come.

For her part, Chief Justice Hon. Zaila McCalla welcomed the re-opening as an event that signified the government’s commitment to ensuring that every citizen has easy access to the ‘Halls of Justice.’

Among members of the judiciary present were Justice Lennox Campbell presiding in the  St. Elizabeth Circuit Court,  Resident Magistrates for the Parish,  Her Honour, Mrs. Sonia Wint Blair and His Honour Mr. Chester Crooks, as well as members of the St Elizabeth chapter of the National Lay Magistrates Association.

Also in attendance was the Director of Public Prosecutions, Paula Llewellyn, Member of Parliament for South Eastern St. Elizabeth, Richard Parchment and representatives of the St Elizabeth Parish Council were also in attendance.

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