A REMINDER from Minister for Home Affairs, Justice and National Security Senator Hermangild Francis that the Halls of Justice project is still on the table is welcome news as it is clear that such a structure is needed.
Also needed is the construction of new police headquarters and again we are pleased that government continues to see the need to have such a structure erected.
In fact, a statement released from the office of Minister Francis noted that government is forging ahead with plans to construct the Halls of Justice and Police Headquarters despite challenges from the inception.
It is well known that the Saint Lucia National Trust and the government were at loggerheads over the site chosen by the government on which to construct the Hall of Justice and new Police Headquarters.
The Trust did seek a court injunction to halt demolition works on the site which is on Upper Bridge Street and was home to the island’s male prison. However, we have been informed that the injunction was with-drawn and an undertaking given to have the Trust involved in the design process of the structure/s to be built on the site.
The Trust’s arguments then are not to be discarded as worthless, as many people have sought to do arguing, and rightly so, that cities, societies and countries must grow and progress to deal with an ever – changing world. But it must also be remembered that positive growth and development of cities and societies are also achieved on their cherished heritage and history.
No doubt there is a real need for the provision of a modern, physical infrastructure for an integrated Supreme Court and Magistracy.
As Minister Francis puts it: “The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court is headquartered in St. Lucia, with registry offices in nine member countries and so the onus is on us, to provide facilities that not only Saint Lucia but the rest of the region can be proud of.”
The Hall of Justice facilities are expected to provide housing for the high courts, and other specialized divisions of the supreme court, the registries, law libraries, jury rooms, magistrates’ courts, holding cells, administrative offices and private rooms for lawyer/client consultation.
The project is expected to gain momentum by April 2020 and forms part of a holistic plan that will improve the justice system of Saint Lucia.
For too long has the Government of Saint Lucia been spending a small fortune on renting and upgrading private spaces to be used as courtrooms around the country, especially within Castries. It is time that an investment is made in the justice system that would see justice delivered in a speedy, fair, efficient and effective manner, to use Minister Francis words.
We are pleased that the Trust and government appear to be on the same page in respect of the edifice/s earmarked for the site. Perhaps it is time they look outside the proverbial box and see how best preservation and modernization could co-exist.