There have been delays in the planned extension of the Appeal Court, which has seen the Chancellor of the Judiciary, Chancellor Yonette Cummings-Edwards (ag) take decisions to move towards the construction of other court buildings outside Georgetown.
According to the Supreme Court’s budgetary submissions, the delay in commencement of the extension of the Court of Appeal Building at Kingston is due to issues surrounding land.
According to the submissions, given the Appeal Court delay along with the issuing of a delay order by engineers for the construction of the Diamond/Grove Magistrate’s Court due to bad weather, the Chancellor in April decided to construct a Magistrate’s Court and living quarters at Bartica, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni).
The projected cost for the Bartica facility is pegged at $204.5M. According to the budget plan, members of the Judiciary and representatives from the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GL&SC) visited Bartica and identified a piece of land for which the final stages of preparation work are being carried out on the Bill of Quantity and drawings.
“The project will provide access to justice to approximately 15,000 people living in the region, especially those in remote areas/villages and foremost relieving them of having to travel to Essequibo to file and hear matters,” the Judiciary plan stated.
The Supreme Court is of the view that the building will provide a more conducive working environment for staff, lawyers and litigants using the services of the court and better living accommodations for Magistrates presiding in Bartica hence eliminating the cost of renting apartments and reduced transportation cost.
Due to the delays to the Appeal Court project, the Acting Chancellor took the decision to construct a Magistrate’s Court and living quarters at Mahdia, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) at $193.7M. It is expected that 4,000 persons living in the region will benefit, including the nearby Amerindian village of Campbell Town which is governed by a village council with a Toshao at its helm.
Court is currently held in a section of the Mahdia Police Station. Another project that is being pursued by the Judiciary in light of the delays to the appeal Court extensions and the Diamond/Grove facility, is a facility at Kwakwani for a court house and living quarters.
An abandoned flat building which is owned by the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) and land by GL&SC are being processed to use the facility.
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