Beautiful Virgin Islands

Monday, Mar 04, 2024

Halls of Justice Project in final stage of development — Premier

Halls of Justice Project in final stage of development — Premier

Premier Andrew Fahie has said the Halls of Justice building project is in its final stage of development and more meetings are expected to happen for the project shortly.
At a recent press conference, the Premier said he will be making some announcements within the next month to update the public on what is happening.

“There is a lot of technical work that had to be done with that, let me make that extremely clear,” the Premier said.

Fahie also noted COVID-19 heavily impacted the completion of the project and people must take it into consideration.

“Some persons want us to not speak about COVID when we are talking about monies and projects but the truth of the matter is COVID-19 happened and it took us a lot to deviate funds to keep this country running and now we have to start to see the economy bouncing back,” Fahie said.

“It’s not looking at excuses, but it is a fact. We had a time when we had to pay all public officers which is the bulk of the budget and we still had to pay some expenses that we met including lawsuits that we lost in terms of government before my tenure, but we had to pay them now,” the Premier added.

Fahie, who is also the Minister of Finance, said because things are slowly going back to normal, people are naming every project, saying things must be done. However, the Premier reiterated that there were financial challenges his government had to overcome and steer the ‘boat’ through the unprecedented financial waters to restart the economy.

“Remember we had lockdown and businesses weren’t functioning because of this COVID-19 and we navigated that, and we are at a place where we can get more projects done and get things done. Some were deferred, some were delayed so we will not get all that we want to be done as a result,” the Finance Minister said.

In the recent 2022 Standing Finance Committee (SFC) Report, the Acting Permanent Secretary in the Deputy Governor’s Office Sharleen Dabreo-Lettsome indicated the court needed to be moved from its current location in John’s Hole. Dabreo-Lettsome said the cost of the move would be $108,000 for rent and $60,000 for outfitting.

The design phase of the Magistrate’s Court is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2021 and construction was projected to be completed in 2022. The Halls of Justice Project is being funded under the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Loan (RRL) from the Caribbean Development Bank, which was secured by the government to assist with the recovery of the territory after Hurricane Irma. The Virgin Islands government as well as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is also helping with the funds.

In his 2020 budget speech, Fahie said the government takes the matter of justice and security very seriously and that the redevelopment of the Magistrate’s Court would be given priority and receive funding in the 2020 budget estimates. The Premier boasted his government would develop a resilient and SMART court facility for Virgin Island. The Magistrate’s Court currently sits in a temporary structure that was built in July 2018.
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