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Repairs to Sir Lee L Moore Judicial Complex delayed because of excessive mold presence, says AG

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by Kevon Browne

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN) – Nine months on, the mold situation at the Sir Lee L Moore Judicial Complex still needs to be rectified.

In updating the parliament on the situation, the Attorney General of St. Kitts and Nevis, Hon. Garth Wilkin, said there is a delay in giving a full report on what work is needed to rectify the mold issue since the complex was closed in June 2022.

“In relation to the building, there has been a delay in completing the full examination of what needs to be done with the Sir Lee L Moore Judicial and Legal Services Complex. Because of the extreme mold presence, it’s difficult for the Public Works officials to spend much time in the building… it has many rooms; many elements. So we are still awaiting a full report, but what I can tell the people of this nation is that – One, they have to replace the roof. Two, we have to replace all electrical and data lines. Three, we have to gut the central air conditioning system and replace it with a new system. Four, we may have to condemn the basement, which [attracts] a lot of moisture given its presence in Basseterre and our aquifer and the construction of our underground.”

Wilkin recounted the necessary measures taken because people working within the complex were getting sick, and a young woman was losing her hair.

Magistrate and High Court, the judges changes, the High Court Registry and general operations were halted and moved from the building. Criminal Court was moved to the Police Training School in Ponds Pasture, Magistrate Courts were moved to Fortlands, and the High Court Registry was moved to the Sir Tapley Seaton Annex.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Mold will grow in places with a lot of moisture.”

When mold spores drop on surfaces with excessive moisture -roofs, pipes, walls, plant pots, or where there has been flooding – they will grow. 

The CDC also says many building materials provide suitable nutrients that encourage mold growth. “Wet cellulose materials, including paper and paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, wood, and wood products, are particularly conducive to the growth of some molds. Other materials, such as dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation materials, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery, commonly support mold growth.”

Recommendation:

  • Keep humidity levels as low as possible—between 30% and 50%–all day.
  • Use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier during humid months.
  • Ventilation. 
  • Fix any leaks to roofs, walls, or plumbing so mold does not have moisture to grow.
  • Consider not using carpet in rooms or areas like bathrooms or basements that may have a lot of moisture.

AG Wilkin promised the nation that the complex would be approached holistically, given its cultural and historical significance.

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