Barrington Flemming, Gleaner Writer
WESTERN BUREAU:Ian Max Cooke, the attorney-at-law in charge of the Montego Bay Legal-Aid Clinic, has refused to speak or have pictures taken of the clinic following the latest clarion call for its relocation to a more suitable area.
Davon Crump, president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, made a call for something to be done about the clinic during the recent Justice Forum staged at the Montego Bay Civic Centre.
"The condition of the building is absolutely ghastly and substandard," said Crump. The building also houses the Family Court and the Resident Magistrate's Court.
"We made a tour of the building housing the legal-aid clinic and it was a disturbing situation. It is difficult to fathom how the staff is called upon to function in that building daily," said Crump.
"It leaks whenever it rains, so the office has to close. The walls are cracking and pieces have fallen, exposing rusting steel. It is simply disgusting to have the people housed in a building which is so decrepit," added Crump.
LITTLE DONE TO AMELIORATE
While supporting the call for the relocation, Cooke says many calls have been made in the past, decrying the deplorable conditions, including highlighting the state of affairs in newspaper articles and television footage, but according to him, precious little has been done.
Cooke said he would be willing to speak on the issue, but only when a new location to house the legal-aid clinic is identified and has been finalised.
For his part, Crump told Western Focus recently that the chamber was committed to assisting in identifying a suitable location for the legal-aid clinic.
"It is a situation that is urgent, so we have been seeking - even among our members - to find a location," said Crump. "Nathan Robb, our chairman for the chamber's Justice and Security Committee, is also liaising with the clinic and other personnel as we seek to come up with a suitable space to house this clinic."
Checks made by Western Focus revealed that there was only a makeshift restroom at the facility and staff was forced to vacate the building when it rained.