BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, August 21, 2022 (SKNIS): Two of the three District ‘A’ Magistrates’ Courts have a new home in the former “Glencove” building at Fortlands, Basseterre, in the vicinity of the War Memorial and Fisherman’s Wharf.
Attorney-General and Minister of Justice & Legal Affairs, Hon. Garth Wilkin stated that he “is pleased that the new District ‘A’ Magistrates’ Court complex will become fully operational on Monday, August 22, 2022, so that the backlog of cases which piled up since the closure of the Sir Lee L. Moore Judicial & Legal Services Complex in early June 2022, due to a mold infestation there, can be resolved.”
He added: “I toured the complex with the Senior Magistrate on Wednesday, August 17 and was pleased with the setup, especially the provisions made for parties to check-in and wait in a covered, cool, seating area with bathroom facilities until their matters are called by way of a telecom system. It’s a modern complex, comfortable for the Magistrates, the staff, the lawyers, and the clients, a contemporary and considerate way of facilitating the administration of justice.”
Senior Magistrate His Honour Renold Benjamin said that the new home was well needed and will assist the court with dispensing justice speedily.
“The staff will feel comfortable here and I see them working at optimal levels in this new location. The location will greatly assist with our current backlog of cases. Since the mold was discovered at our previous location we had to abandon the court, so no cases were tried for the past two months. So, we have a backlog, but I am confident that now we will be able to handle all of those matters. I would like to thank the Government for getting a building. Getting an ideal building was very difficult; we tried several locations and we could not have found a location better than this one,” said Senior Magistrate Benjamin.
He said that significant work was done in an effort to renovate the “Glencove” building in the soonest possible time to allow the two Magistrates’ Courts to resume functioning. The new complex is outfitted with all the necessary amenities and spaces needed for a court to function.
“We have the facilities. We have the infrastructure needed for us to deal with any case that may arise. The location is very quiet, much quieter that downtown. We do not have many vehicles passing up and down, not much noise from the public or loud music from events in the Square. We have little to no disturbance up here; it is very quiet and conducive to court operation. You almost do not feel like you are in a court because the environment feels so friendly,” he said.
The two District “A” Magistrates’ Courts administered by His Honour Renold Benjamin (Court Room #1) and His Honour Fitzroy Eddy (Court Room #2) will be open from 9 am to 4:30 pm. All other Magistrates’ Court administrative matters will be dealt with at the new complex and His Honour Benjamin indicated that in the next two weeks cash will be collected at the building, including the payment of traffic tickets.
The new building has a covered external waiting area, external bathrooms, court cashier room, exhibit room, storeroom, kitchenette, internal bathrooms, holding bay, administrative office, Magistrates’ offices and court offices.
Her Honour Magistrate Donna Harris will continue to sit in the single District “A” Magistrate at the Sir S. W. Tapley Seaton Annex located at East Independence Square, Basseterre.