$99M living quarters for judges, magistrates commissioned in Essequibo

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Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon on Wednesday, December 20, 2017, commissioned a $99M, fully furnished modern living quarters facility for judges and magistrates at Suddie, Essequibo Coast.

The facility boasts four apartment units, which contain two rooms each. The rooms are outfitted with all amenities including flat screen televisions, microwaves, furniture and hot and cold shower.

Addressing members of the judiciary, regional officials and other special invitees present at the opening ceremony, Minister Harmon said that the delivery of justice, is an issue, which the Government takes seriously and the provision of these facilities will ensure that the distance between the court and the living accommodation is reduced so as to allow more time to be spent on dealing with the administration of justice.

Previously, the accommodation for judges and magistrates were available at Anna Regina while the Court is located at Suddie.

Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon flanked by the Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag), Madame Yonette Cummings-Edwards, Chief Justice (ag) Justice Roxane George- Wiltshire, Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan and staff of the Sub Registry of the High Court at Suddie.
[Ministry of the Presidency photos]
“I believe that is a very important step… The location of these premises in immediate proximity of the court is commendable as it removes the need of these officials to commute from Anna Regina to this location, thereby saving precious time and money and enable them to discharge their functions with ease.

“The transition of accommodation of our judicial officers to close proximity to the place of work and circumstances that are more comfortable should not be underestimated. The discharge of their functions as adjudicators of the law require clear thinking and legal writing that must be facilitated by provision of the best possible living and working environment…,” Minister Harmon said.

Minister Harmon noted that the realisation of this project is a manifestation of government’s commitment to addressing the improvement and enhancement of the working conditions of the three branches of government and to also facilitate the efficient delivery of public service in all regions of Guyana.

This, Minister Harmon said, includes the realignment of services in accordance with the ten administrative regions of Guyana that will be realised by the establishment of regional capitals.

“These services include fast and reliable internet access for proper communication and research that are so essential for such matters as case preparations and judgement and all other support which the judiciary requires. It is still not good enough that citizens of Bartica have to travel to the Essequibo Coast to receive some judicial services. These services should be provided to our citizens with the least possible inconvenience,” the Minister said.

Further to this, Minister Harmon said that the time is fast approaching when the regional administrations will have to take responsibility for the provision of such facilities so as to ensure that valuable time is not lost.

Meanwhile, Chancellor of the Judiciary (acting), Madame Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards, OR, CCH, in her remarks said that the project, which began under the auspices of Justice Carl Singh, former Chancellor of the Judiciary, will assist greatly in the provision of judicial services on the Essequibo Coast. After years of tedious searching for housing and accommodation for Judges and Magistrates, she noted that it is a historic day to see the project come to fruition.

“As I recall it, in the 70s to the 80s just across where the old Suddie High Court was, were quarters for judges and magistrates were given places all around. That building was old dilapidated and as a result, quarters had to be found again for staff here.

“Then after that, accommodations were found for judges in Onderneeming and that compound housed the judge, the prosecutor, the clerk and the court marshal. We would commute from there to Court and then eventually we moved from Onderneeming and went to Anna Regina but the meantime the magistrates were itinerant because they were in Zorg and then they were at Johanna Cecelia and they were other places. Some magistrates stayed with relatives some were lucky to have government buildings at their disposal,” she explained.

The Project commenced on November 21, 2016, and was scheduled to be completed in eleven months. However, it was completed in the period nine months within the allocated Budget. (Extracted and modified from the Ministry of the Presidency)

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