Mon | Aug 21, 2017

Chuck to fix courthouses

Published:Monday | August 22, 2016 | 8:00 AM
Senior parish judge Justice Judith Pusey explains to Justice Minister Delroy Chuck (left) the data registry system that was piloted by the Canadian Department of Justice through the Justice Undertakings for Social Transformation Programme. Looking on is Kintu Bernard, records officer at the Resident Magistrate Court, Half-Way Tree. Minister Chuck was conducting a tour of courthouses in the Corporate Area.

Delroy Chuck, minister of justice, recently conducted a detailed tour of five courthouses in Kingston and St Andrew.

After seeing the infrastructure of each facility, Chuck said that a facelift was necessary and changes were on the way. Chuck toured the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, the Sutton Street Court, the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court, and the Family Court with Permanent Secretary Carol Palmer and project consultant Vivian Gordon.

"The issues that confront us are many, but they are not issues that cannot be addressed. In the past and present, Minister Chuck has been of great assistance to us, and I am looking forward to some of the changes that he has suggested today that will augur well for the better administration of justice here," said Justice Judith Pusey, senior parish judge, who personally gave the tour at the Half-Way Tree court. The tour revealed the urgent need for structural changes, refurbishing, and outfitting work.

UPGRADE NEEDED

"It is quite clear that significant upgrading and improvements will have to be made to these courts. Considering first, the Supreme Court, there is no doubt that we have far too many areas in the courts that are overburdened with old files, old furniture, and equipment," Chuck said. He noted that the Supreme Court's infrastructure was still quite good but needed cleaning and upgrading. But he said major work would have to be done, including renovation and painting of the other courthouses.

He said the work would begin almost immediately at the courts visited. Chuck said that along with fitting the courts with audio visual equipment and other technology, "we will simultaneously fix up the courts and lift the quality of the structure to ensure that they are befitting of a First World country."

While funding has been a crucial subject when contemplating major work on the courts, Chuck revealed that contributions would come from overseas partners, the Consolidated Fund, and a portion of the total from traffic tickets.