Tuesday, April 23, 2024

NUPW: Close Court Complex

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General secretary of the National Union of Public Workers, Roslyn Smith, is calling for the Supreme Court Complex to be closed for the next three months while extensive cleaning is done to the building.

In an interview Thursday night, she said that while she understood environmental scientists at the University of the West Indies were conducting investigations, she did not know how long that would take to be completed.

“There are a number of issues to be dealt with, and therefore I was saying to them I do not support a piecemeal approach to the building. If you are going to fix one area, you cannot shift the workers to that one area, and continue work on another area,” she said.

Smith added that the entire building needed to be cleaned from top to bottom, and there were issues with fridges, the chillers needed to be changed and the roof replaced.

“You cannot be doing all these things with the workers in the building. So I am saying we will give them three months to get the building in order, so the workers can function in proper conditions. I have suggested that they can use the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Complex where they can look at setting up court there, or they can look at the other courts where they can look at sharing facilities to accommodate some of the cases,” she said.

President of the Bar Association, Liesel Weekes, however said a closure of the courts for three months was completely unattainable.

“It is not a situation that can be allowed to take place, unless of course they are identifying alternative locations for the sitting of the court and the housing of the Registry. We cannot operate without those functionaries of the judicial system for extensive periods, and certainly not a period of three months. I would not want to get in to how that will affect the delivery of justice or the disposal of cases,” she said.

While adding that the association was not made aware of the protest action on Wednesday, she said they were also not invited to the meeting scheduled for today.

“It affects the association in the sense that we won’t be party to any discussion or negotiation or any such thing, and we would only be informed post facto about what has transpired. Consequently we can’t bring any of our views to bear on any decisions that are being made . . . and so the outcome really isn’t affected by any input we could properly make to assist the process which is unfortunate,” she said.

Efforts to reach Registrar Barbara Cooke-Alleyne for comment on the matter were unsuccessful.

While operations were brought to a halt on Wednesday, and the complex remained closed yesterday, staff had been advised to report to the facility at 1 p.m. for an update. (RA)

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