Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator
Calls grow for Gov't to take action to combat rat, roach problem
Opposition spokesman on Justice Delroy Chuck says he is extremely disappointed that enough maintenance work has not been done on the Supreme Court building to avoid rat infestation.
Chuck made the comment in response to a report in yesterday's Gleaner which indicated that the Supreme Court building has been infested with rats and cockroaches.
Yesterday, a worker from a pest control company visited the courthouse to assess the situation.
Commenting further, Chuck said: "It is absolutely urgent that the minister of justice and the Government act promptly to avoid rat poisoning and disease that may affect human beings."
Chuck warned that unless the infestation was controlled, important documents could be damaged, creating great inconvenience not only for judges but for litigants.
Attorney-at-law Christian Tavares-Finson described the situation as unfortunate and said it seemed to be indicative of the lack of resources designated to the maintenance of the court building.
Tavares-Finson called for the matter to be addressed urgently.
"We must appreciate that the health of all court workers, including judges, lawyers and members of the public, is of utmost importance," he added.
Vice-president of the Jamaican Bar Association, Valerie Neita-Robertson, said the Government needs to put in place a plan to "fix up" the city.
She said there were too many derelict buildings in which people dump garbage and faeces, making them breeding grounds for rats and cockroaches.
Neita-Robertson suggested the Government could call for the owners of derelict buildings to do something about them or the Government could let developers take over the buildings on a 45-year lease basis, refurbish them, and then rent them to recover their money.
Neita-Robertson warned that if the city is not cleaned up, the problem of rat infestation at the Supreme Court was not going to be solved.
Minister of Justice Mark Golding said he was in a meeting all day yesterday and did not have an opportunity to discuss the matter with his permanent secretary. He, however, promised to look into the matter to see what could be done.
The Court Management Services is responsible for the maintenance of the courthouses.