by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Almost one year ago, in June 2022, the Sir Lee L. Moore Judicial and Legal Services Complex was closed for renovations – the reason is a mold infestation in the building that threatened the health of anyone using the facility.
The building is still closed as the Attorney General, Hon. Garth Wilkin, shared that the renovations needed were more significant than initially anticipated.
“Unfortunately, [it] was shut down in June 2022 because of a serious mold infestation. However, we have discovered that it has more problems than just mold. It requires a new roof, new AC system, new electricals, new internal walls and potentially [the] condemnation of the basement. So what we wanted to do at the Ministry and what we started the process of doing is finding out how we can bring that building back to be fully activated and not just put a plaster on the wounds, which seems to have been done in the past. We want to do a fulsome repair so they can last for another 30 to 50 years,” AG Wilking said during the Prime Minister’s press conference on May 18.
With the closure of the Judicial Complex, services had to be relocated. Magistrate Court was held in the S. W. Tapley Seaton Annex but could not facilitate all matters effectively.
The Magistrates Court moved to a facility in Fortlands, and the High Court for criminal matters are being held at the police training school.
“I’m happy to report that the Magistrates, the staff, clients and parties are happy with the temporary relocation of the Magistrates Courts to Fortlands by the cenotaph. The Civil High Court has also used that facility periodically when there are trials. But the Criminal Court has moved to the Police Training School, and what I can inform the public is that when the new law term begins mid-September, there will be a less temporary home for the Criminal Court, as well as the Civil Court and we are working on finalising those plans. But I can promise that September will not meet us with this temporary interim solution to the courts, the courts that were important to the functioning of justice in our society.”
Initially, the renovations should have taken six-eight weeks, with the reopening set for the start of the law term in September 2022. A year on, the AG did not indicate when the Sir Lee L. Moore Judicial and Legal Services Complex renovations would be completed.
However, based on the moves to have less temporary homes for the Criminal and Civil courts come September, the complex may be closed for some time.