Nassau, Bahamas – Senator the Hon. John Delaney Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs described the Supreme Court refurbishment project as “unprecedented” and said it is only one aspect of the Government’s commitment.
“This amount of commitment to the high court and to the magistracy is entirely unprecedented in our lifetime,” said Mr. Delaney. “This is only one aspect of the Government’s commitment. We’ve restructured the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the management of Public Prosecutions and expanded the Law Reform Commission to a more suitable premises.”
Furthermore, the Attorney General said another initiative by the Government was to assign additional counsel to the Law Reform Revision Commission. “ For the first time we’ve put in a career path for counsel who aspire to have a career in legislative drafting and reform by putting in a new post of Deputy Law Reform Revision Commissioner. There is a progression of persons who might be providing laws so they can see themselves all the way up to becoming a Law Reform and Revision Commissioner.”
Mr. Delaney, along with Permanent Secretary Archie Nairn, toured renovations to the former Hansard Building and criminal trial rooms in the Ansbacher Building, located in Bank Lane on Wednesday, December 1.
Mr. Delaney said the former Ansbacher Building is “nicely” situated for the purposes of the judiciary and is among the traditional Supreme Court buildings.
The Government acquired the Ansbacher House at a cost of $8.5 million. When renovations are completed, the building will continue to house Supreme Court registries, but will also house criminal and civil trial rooms, an exhibit store, which Mr. Delaney described as a secure room where exhibits for trial are safely kept.
“When finished this building will house modern, state-of-the-art court rooms – 5 civil trial rooms and 2 criminal trial rooms, a jury room, judges chambers/lounge, police quarters, robing room for lawyers,” he said.
According to Emmit White project manager of Sunco Developers renovations have been going “rather smoothly and on schedule”. Construction is set to be complete by July 2011. Twenty-five persons are employed on the project. To date structural changes on the exterior and complete demolition to create two court houses on the ground floor are among the renovations.
Renovations to the former Hansard Building are expected to be complete by April 2011. In its entirety the Hansard Building will be a court room providing both judges chambers, and a trial room on the ground floor.
“The major purpose was to invest in the judiciary, but we’re very mindful of the historical and touristic content and that is especially true when we speak to the Hansard Building. This is done in conjunction with the Historical Society and the Antiquities and Monument Museum Agency.