Sykes urges Gov’t to speed up relocation of St James Parish Court
Chief Justice Bryan Sykes is calling on the authorities to urgently identify a site to facilitate the relocation of the St James Parish Court from the flood prone premises it now occupies on Megre Bay Road in Montego Bay.
The court is often affected by flood waters which spills over from the nearby North Gully whenever it rains heavily.
Last year, Justice Minister Delroy Chuck said he was in full support of calls by the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) and the Cornwall Bar Association (CBA) to utilise the area occupied by the St James Parish Library to construct the long-anticipated Western Justice Complex.
Speaking at the MBCCI Annual Awards Banquet at the Montego Bay Convention Centre Saturday night, Sykes says the time has come for the matter to be settled.
“It can’t be that in the 21st century the parish court for St James, which is one of the most productive courts in Jamaica, one of the largest courts, one of the most productive courts consistently finishing among the top four courts in Jamaica and it is located essentially on flood prone property. Every time there is a heavy downpour of rain and the water comes down in the gully beside the court it overflows into the courtyard, every single time. And this has been going on for well over 30 years. Some say as long as 50 years,” Sykes said.
“We have a problem in Montego Bay, it is not just a problem just here, but it is a problem across the island. And this has to do with the question of our courts, the appearance of our courts. We need to resolve the issue in Montego Bay of having a site to construct a proper courthouse worthy of the city of Montego Bay. That needs to be resolved,” he added.
He also wants the family court which is situated at a plaza on Kerr Avenue in the tourism resort town to be relocated.
“The family court is housed on a plaza that was supposed to have a temporary accommodation. The temporary accommodation has become 30 years. The 18 and 19-year-olds who were employed in the court then have now reached retirement age and they are still on the plaza,” he said.
“So we have one of the political representatives (Homer Davis) from western Jamaica among us this evening. So maybe now would be a good time to make those inquiries as to when that is going to be resolved,” he said.
He also said a new location needs to be found for the Gun Court which is also at the Megre Bay Road building.
“The Gun Court needs a separate building and so too the Western Registry. So what is necessary then, is for the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce to begin to ask these questions about the construction of the court complex to have a proper court where our citizens can come and do business in a dignified way,” Sykes said.