Members of the media were among those who were afforded a sneak-peak into the construction detail of renovation works at the Court of Appeal in the downtown business district of Kingston on Thursday afternoon, August 9.
As work continues in earnest to meet the September 2018 deadline, Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck assured that the refurbishment project is well within the estimated $846 million valuation done in April.
“So far, we are on budget. We don’t anticipate any great variation; we have [a] contingency, which we will touch on, if necessary, [but] we are on target,” he said.
The ministry’s refurbishment project, awarded to Y P Seaton & Associated Limited, sees the installation of impact-resistant glass in strategic areas, two elevators, three courtrooms and 14 judges’ chambers – double what the court had been utilizing since 1967.
Also on hand to witness the renovation progress was Ambassador/Head of Delegation in the European Union’s (EU) delegation to Jamaica Malgorzata Wasilewska, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice Carol Palmer and Court of Appeal Judge, Justice Hilary Phillips.
Ambassador Wasilewska was very pleased with the progress all the responsible parties had made in their contribution to the renovation process, hoping when she returns to Jamaica in September, the works would have been sufficiently completed.
“We’ve been coming every month to see the progress and I have to say hats off to the contractor and all the staff. I’m now quite confident the court should be ready for opening when I return from Europe in a month’s time,” she said.
Wasilewska said that a big part of the EU’s support to the local justice sector was to ensure improved efficiency and working conditions at the island’s final appeals court before the Privy Council.
“Apart from the infrastructure, we will finally be able to see a reduction in the backlog of cases,” the EU Ambassador added.
Justice Hilary Phillips noted that she was also impressed with the streamlined manner in which the refurbishment continues at an extraordinary pace.
By Gavin Riley