Demolition of old San Fernando magistrates’ court begins


– Lincoln Holder

THE old San Fernando magistrates court building at Harris Street has been demolished.

Built in 1931, the building was reduced to an eye-sore in the southern city.

On the weekend, as part of the Local Government Ministry’s We Clean TT campaign, demolition of the remaining structure of the building began.

In 2020, the Judiciary, in a statement, said the former court building had been marked for demolition for some time.

The first phase was completed just before the start of the covid19 pandemic and because demolition work could not be done because of early pandemic restrictions, the Judiciary said it sought alternative means of executing the demolition project.

In June 2020, then attorney general Faris Al-Rawi, who is now the Local Government Minister, told Newsday construction on a new magistrates’ court for San Fernando was, at the time, set to start shortly as architectural drawings were completed so, too, engineering services.

The new building is to be built at the corner of Sutton Street and Irving Park.

At the time, Al-Rawi, who is also San Fernando West MP, said the land had been vested and Cabinet had approved all the structures.

In September 2017, the Judiciary issued a statement on the “temporary relocation” of the court from the old building at Harris Street to the Supreme Court building, across the road at Harris Promenade.

The relocation was to allow repairs to the roof of the old court building.

The lower courts had been operating on a shift system with the High Court but since the pandemic, court hearings nationwide are being held virtually.

An assessment of the building after the 2018 6.9 magnitude earthquake showed significant damage.

On the weekend, Al-Rawi said the Judiciary was yet to say what its plans were for the site.

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