Tue | Aug 4, 2020

Cornwall Bar holds further talks on justice complex construction

Published:Friday | July 31, 2020 | 12:16 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer
Silvera
Silvera

WESTERN BUREAU:

With increasing calls for the construction of the long-awaited western justice court complex in Montego Bay to get under way, three years after its initial announcement in 2017, the Cornwall Bar Association (CBA) has said additional discussions are to be held regarding the facility’s eventual creation.

CBA president and attorney-at-law, Lambert Johnson, said while he could not comment in detail on the outstanding complex, his organisation has not forgotten about Justice Minister Delroy Chuck’s plans for the facility, which were announced in February 2017.

“It [the court complex] is a matter that is currently occupying the Cornwall Bar council. There are further discussions to be held, so it would be unwise to make a comment at this time, but we still have it on our agenda, so we have not abandoned it,” Johnson said in a brief statement. “It is a matter to be further discussed, as it relates to the way forward.” Johnson’s comments follow a call from the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) during its annual general meeting on July 22 for the resumption of the complex’s construction project, which has been hampered by the Ministry of Justice’s inability to pinpoint suitable lands for the work to begin.

SEVERAL ISSUES

At that time, MBCCI President Janet Silvera identified the justice complex as one of several issues to be addressed for the development of St James.

“The plan to construct a western justice complex, aimed at improving the justice system in the parish of St James, needs to recommence. We have been hearing a lot of excuses as to why plans for the construction remain in limbo, and we are tired of it,” said Silvera.

“Even in the midst of a pandemic, crime is still the number one disruptor of lives in Jamaica, and the Government needs to stop dilly-dallying on matters that can give our people a fighting chance,” Silvera added.

In 2017, Chuck announced that a section of the Montego Bay Number One Post Office, which adjoins the St James Parish Court, would be converted into additional space for extra court facilities. He indicated that the building project would take two years to complete.

Last June, Chuck revised the starting time for the construction to some time this year, after Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett indicated that both the parish court and the St James Parish Library would be relocated to facilitate multimillion-dollar development plans for the city’s waterfront.