State-of-the-art court facility for MoBay
Justice Minister Delroy Chuck says the Government is looking to acquire the parcel of land in front of the Freeport Police Station, in Montego Bay, St James, to build a new state-of-the-art court facility which will be able to accommodate a branch of the Appeals Court.
"We are looking at renovating the court in St James temporarily," said Chuck. "Only this week [Tuesday, September 11], I spoke with the CEO of the Port Authority, Gordon Shirley, to see if we can identify some land in front of the [Freeport] Police Station, in St James, to put up a decent court facility. It's urgently needed."
He added: "What is interesting is, we have the money to buy the land but we can't find the appropriate land and I know that over the next two fiscal budgets [2019 to 2021], the prime minister and the Cabinet are determined that additional court facilities will be provided," said Chuck.
According to Chuck, the Judicial Service Commission is likely to appoint more Court of Appeal judges and, when that is done, the likelihood is that the court can have three or four panels in operation.
"When that is done, the likelihood is that we can have three or four panels. I know that the president [Justice Dennis Morrison] of the Court of Appeal is looking at maybe having sittings in St James," said Chuck stated.
Chuck said that, at present, one of the many difficulties preventing the Appeal Court from sitting in St James is the inadequate provisions as it relates to the size of the existing courtrooms.
"Before the end of the month [September] the likelihood is that we will have a new Court of Appeal building in Kingston," said Chuck.
It should be noted that, in 2014 and 2017, lawyers and litigants in western Jamaican we provided with much relief from travelling to Kingston as several sittings of the Court of Appeal took place at the Lucea Parish Court, in Hanover, under Justice Seymour Panton, a former president of the Court of Appeal, who has now retired from the bench after serving the legal profession for more than 30 years.