NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The government is expected to invest some $2 million to refurbish the Garnet Lavarity Justice Centre in Freeport, Grand Bahama.
The facelift will mark the largest refurbishment exercise since the court was constructed in 1994, according to Senator Kwasi Thompson.
“This will bring relief to staff members, lawyers and the general public. In addition, it will also bring much-needed economic activity to Freeport, creating some employment,” Thompson said at the signing ceremony for the centre’s refurbishment on Monday.
The Garnet Lavarity Justice Centre was opened in 1994 by the Queen. The addition of two Supreme Courts and additional Magistrates Courts meant that residents would not have to fly to Nassau for everyday Supreme Court application, which immediately made it cheaper for Freeport residents.
Thompson, who also serves as Minister of State for Grand Bahama in the Office of the Prime Minister, said the Supreme Court complex has become a major landmark in Freeport as it is one of the first buildings visitors see when leaving the airport. But Sen. Thompson said he recalled comments made by organizers of a major international legal conference who did not want to show their counterparts where they practised because of the courts’ appearance.
Thompson said the court complex has become a source of discouragement for the staff and those who practice there.
“For many years that staff has to contend with roof leaks, air condition issues, mould, bees, and deteriorating columns. Previous attempts were made to correct these issues but were never completed,” Thompson said, adding that earlier this year, staff members expressed their frustration which led Parliamentary Secretary Iram Lewis and Minister of Works Desmond Bannister to tour the court.
“I commend my colleagues Iram Lewis and Desmond Bannister for listening to the cries of Grand Bahamians and fulfilling their promises to bring relief,” Thompson said.