A timeline has been set to have the courthouse in Freeport, Grand Bahama at the Garnet Levarity Justice Centre repaired: this was stated during the official opening of the 2018 Legal Year in Grand Bahama, which took place on Friday, January 12. The event started with a solemn march to Christ, the King Anglican Church, where a service was held, with Canon Harry Bain giving the sermon.
Following the service, Acting Chief Justice, Stephen Isaacs, and the legal community along with the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Senator the Hon. Carl Bethel; Minister of State for Legal Affairs, the Hon. Elsworth Johnson and Minister of State for Grand Bahama, Senator the Hon. Kwasi Thompson marched to the courthouse, where the police band and the color guard performed, before being inspected by the Acting Chief Justice.
During a short ceremony in the Supreme Court, the Acting Chief Justice, along with the Attorney General delivered remarks, focused on the repairs needed for the court. “This whole issue of repairs for this courthouse is something the Chief Justice is very concerned about and he has my full support in this matter,” said Mr. Bethel.
The Garnett Levarity Justice Center in Freeport has been in a state of disrepair for close to three years, only becoming worse following the passing of several hurricanes through Grand Bahama during that period.
“One of the problems that Freeport has is with the building itself (the courthouse) and I can say that is going to be a top priority this year,” said Justice Isaacs. “As soon as we get all of the details and the estimates, myself and those who hold the funds and purse strings, we have already begun discussing this very serious issue.”
Attorney General Carl Bethel acknowledged that the Acting Chief Justice addressed the most pressing issue facing the legal system in Grand Bahama. However, Mr. Bethel said he, himself, would like to have a timeline to have the project carried out.
“We know that the second week of February is when a supplementary budget is presented,” said Mr. Bethel. “According to the information that I’ve received, the government may do a supplementary budget. I’m not certain, but if they do, I would like to get a cost for this project in before then, so that we can budget for it in the main budget within the next six months.
“We will try to expedite that as quickly as possible and hopefully, if we need to get some extra allocation, we will get it in the mid-term budget; that is what we are racing towards, which ought to be tabled in or about the middle of February.
“So, expedition is called for and we hope that the Deputy Registrar, along with the cooperation of all the staff here in this office would make sure that you get three quotes and get them to the Permanent Secretary, so that we can have something in writing and so that we can proceed as soon as possible.”