$2M court fix
It will cost just over $2 million to fix the decade old Supreme Court Complex rendered partially uninhabitable by environmental problems.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Dale Marshall QC yesterday toured the Cane Garden Court facility where the criminal sessions of the High Court will take place while the complex is under repairs. The tour party included Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson, Registrar Barbara Cooke-Alleyne, Bar president Liesel Weekes and other officials.
“It is regrettable that . . . a building that is less than a decade old [is] facing these kinds of challenges. The investment by the Government of Barbados in that facility . . . . was vast, and I think that one of the issues that has been defeating the Government of Barbados for many years has been the deficiency of ensuring that buildings are properly maintained,” said Marshall.
“There is no good reason why after less than ten years we should have a building that is overrun by mould to the extent that it is making employees sick. It is also making the people who visit there sick, and that is an untenable situation,” he said, adding that it was a difficult situation for all.
He added that it was expected that the remedial work at the Supreme Court Complex would start within the next few weeks, and last for approximately six months.
“It is not just a question of cleaning up the mould. We have to restore those systems that would ensure that mould does not present itself again. That is a very complex and expensive air conditioning and air quality system that is located on the building. Allied to that is the need to make substantial changes to the roof of the building. I imagine that that must have been some kind of design flaw. It isn’t fatal, but it is considered important in ensuring that we deal with the air quality,” Marshall said.
“We had originally anticipated being able to get back down to Whitepark Road within a four-month period, but there are some challenges along the way.
“The very expensive chiller that has to be installed at the roof, as it turns out that piece of equipment has to be specially commissioned, specially manufactured and then shipped into Barbados, so that is actually requiring almost as long as the original four-month period we had anticipated.
“All of the ducting has to be removed on the three floors, cleaned out and put back in,” he added.
He noted that while the Prime Minister had agreed to make the funds available, they were going through the process at a rapid rate.
“It doesn’t mean that we are overspending, but these elements are very expensive to deal with. We are going to take this opportunity to install three new courtrooms and offices. We don’t have to build new courtrooms in every instance; there is one courtroom that is currently unused. Our administration has committed to giving the Chief and the public of Barbados the benefit of three temporary judges at the earliest opportunity,” Marshall said. (RA)