$170M required for G/T Magistrates’ Court completion
At least $170M is required for additional work to be done at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court. That figure, according to Junior Finance Minister Juan Edghill, is what has been requested from the Government for the total completion of rehabilitation work which would facilitate the Court’ s reopening.
In an interview with this publication, Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Carl Singh, said that the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court first underwent repairs and rehabilitation works funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The project, he explained, came under the Justice Sector Modernization programme, and had
commenced in early 2011.
The contractor, PD Contracting Services, had completed its contractual obligations by performing the work that was required. Justice Singh said that as a result of the internal and layout changes made at the court, it was noticed that additional work was needed, for which further funding was requested from the Government.
The Chancellor asserted that the Magistrates’ Court could be occupied in its present state, if there were no other alternative, but the environment would be very uncomfortable for Magistrates and other court users. It would thus be necessary, to have the Court totally completed before it is reopened.
Meanwhile, Minister Edghill told Kaieteur News that he was aware of the request made by the Judiciary for the additional $170M, but the Government has not yet decided, since the administration does not have the funds to facilitate the expense.
At least $500M had been allocated for enhancing and upgrading the justice system for the year 2012. Within this sum, money was designated for the improvement of the Georgetown court and for the construction of other courts outside the city.
And Chancellor Singh revealed that court users could look forward to having all ten Courts housed in one building. He also made mention of additional amenities such as air conditioning units and improved toilet facilities.
The Georgetown Magistrates’ Court has so far been extended at its northern and southern extremities.
The alternative Court building is located at Lot 92 Middle Street, the former Globe Trust premises.
Many persons have so far indicated their disapproval of the facilities at that location. The attendants, as they wait outside the various courts, would express their discomfort, referring to the heated hallways and lack of seating. It is not clear whether the temporary location is equipped with a generator, but when there are power outages, the building’s windows and sometimes doors must be opened to let in light and fresh air.
The Georgetown Magistrates’ Court was moved to its current location on March 7 of last year.