It is approximately one month since the closure of the High Court due to health concerns with the LIME building on The Carenage in St. George’s.
This has resulted in 139 criminal matters listed for the April Assizes and other civil and divorce matters being put at a standstill, as High Courts No. 2, 4 and 5 have not had a sitting since May 22.
THE NEW TODAY can report that close to four weeks later, a solution is yet to be found by the ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell on future sittings of the court.
At the onset of the crisis, Supreme Court Registrar, Alana Twum-Barimah, revealed that an assessment conducted on the building by the Grenada Bureau of Standards (GDBS), showed a spike of radiation in a particular section of the building, which could have been the cause of health hazards to the users of the court.
However, Cable & Wireless Communications (C&W), the registered owner of the building, which is being rented to government, categorically refuted claims of harmful ‘radiation’ levels in the building.
In a press release issued, C&W claimed that “the Bureau of Standards conducted its own set of independent tests in the building and the findings indicate that there are no harmful radiation levels at the site.”
The telecoms provider claimed that it had “contracted a third-party to conduct a ‘non-ionising radiation’ analysis of the building (and) there has been no evidence of this type of radiation beyond acceptable levels of health and safety.”
According to the release, “C&W Grenada has reported these findings to the Attorney General as well as to the lessee of the building, the Ministry of Legal Affairs and Works and its occupants.”
However, when contacted last week Thursday, Attorney-General, Sir Lawrence Joseph declined to comment on the issue.
“I cannot speak to that right now,” he said, directing the newspaper to the Supreme Court Registrar, who he noted is following up on the issue.
Speaking on the issue via telephone with THE NEW TODAY, last week Thursday, Registrar Twum-Barimah, could not provide clarity on the radiation issue in light of the statement from Cable & Wireless.
A cautious Registrar stated that the “government must be given the opportunity to make the necessary arrangements to ensure that the court process continues.”
“It’s hard to say what the direction is (finding alternative venues) when it has not been finalised,” however, she affirmed that they are working assiduously to ensure that the court process continues.
“We are really working hard to find the best suitable option…we are trying to at least have a temporary place to have matters heard before the new court term in September,” she said.
The Registrar disclosed that the affected court staff who, were home for a few days, have since been filling in at the Office of the “Supreme Court Registry assisting with normal duties and performing similar tasks.”
Up to press time, the only High Court that has been sitting is the No. 3, which was the first to be temporarily relocated to the Mediation Centre building on Scott Street.
However, this court is only dealing with Chamber matters, while a number of other open court and fixed dates matters are left to accumulate in a backlog.