JIS News

The Ministry of Justice is to construct a temporary facility to replace the Morant Bay Courthouse in St. Thomas, which was destroyed by fire on February 19, 2007.
Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Senator Dorothy Lightbourne says discussions are advanced with the St. Thomas Parish Council to purchase additional land to increase the size of the property identified for the Morant Bay complex.
“We have advertised for tenders to build an interim containerized facility to replace the burnt out Courthouse, and we are awaiting the selection of the architects for the design and costing for the project,” Senator Lightbourne said on Wednesday (June 24, 2009) during the official opening of the Port Antonio Resident Magistrate’s Court.
She added that the original site which was purchased to construct the Courthouse was too small.
The Morant Bay complex is one of six Parish Judicial complexes which the Ministry of Justice plans to establish.
Senator Lightbourne said plans are ongoing for the establishment of Regional Judicial Complexes in Montego Bay to serve the parishes of Trelawny, St. James, Hanover and Westmoreland.
The Mandeville Regional Judicial Complex will serve St. Elizabeth, Manchester and Clarendon while the St. Ann’s Bay complex is to serve St. Ann, St. Mary and Portland.
Senator Lightbourne also disclosed that negotiation has started for a site in Montego Bay, while lands have been identified at the Heritage Site in St. Ann’s Bay for the St. Ann complex.
The new Port Antonio Courthouse which is located in Boundbrook, Portland, replaced the original historical stone and brick Courthouse, which was erected in 1895 and damaged by fire in 2004.
The National Commercial Bank in 2005 partnered with the Ministry of Justice in a two-fold development plan. Under this partnership, NCB agreed to renovate the historic Port Antonio Courthouse, which would become the site of the new NCB Portland Branch. NCB also agreed to construct a new court facility in the parish.
NCB provided $280 million dollars for the construction of the new Courthouse which was handed over to the Ministry on August 24, 2008.
Subsequent to this handing over, the Government spent an additional $35 million dollars to make it functional.
The new fully air-conditioned Courthouse, which began hearing cases on June 1, boasts three court rooms, two jury rooms with kitchenettes, three Judges’ Chambers with private reception areas, two robing rooms for Attorneys-at-law with private sanitary facilities, a private secure parking area for judges and staff, and an administrative area with cashier services.
The new Courthouse also has a secure access and egress for detainees.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Robert Rainford, urged the residents of Portland to take care of the building.

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