Sunday 12 July, 2020

Bordelais Court House to Become Operational

A move is afoot to make operational the courthouse that is located in the Bordelais Correctional Facility in Dennery.

This comes in light of a backlog of criminal cases staring the Director of Public Prosecution in the eye on account of the closure of the Nyerah Court on the John Compton Highway, which is home to the criminal division of the Saint Lucia High Court.

The court has been closed since April 18 of last year as a result of industrial action by staff claiming security concerns as their reason for their action.

The court stayed closed during the summer break and was expected to open at the opening of the new law year in September, however, this was not to be as the remedial works expected to be done in the building were not completed by then.

A notice on the website of the OECS Supreme Court last year explained that all high court appeal matters and magistrate criminal matters were postponed to the next sitting during the week commencing Monday 8 April, 2019 to Friday 12 April, 2019.

The Nyerah Court refurbishment is expected to be completed this month and the court is expected to be fully functional at the same time. However, as far as National Security Minister Hermangild Francis is concerned, the more courts there are dealing with criminal cases the better it would be for the DPP’s Office, which has to tackle the backlog of criminal cases waiting to be taken care of.

“We have the courthouse in Borderlais and sometime this week or next week we are going to be meeting with the Chief Justice to see how we can utilize the Bordelais courthouse because it is one of, if not the best courthouses on the island, it’s just the distance the judges have to travel,” Francis said.

Francis said that everyone has to make sacrifices for the betterment of the country, therefore the judges, police and witnesses must all accept they will have to travel a distance to get to the court, seeing that it is located in Dennery, which is a distance from the capital Castries.

“All of us must accept that we must bring down the backlog of cases,” Francis said

The Bordelais Correctional Facility is the only prison in Saint Lucia. Built in 2003, it has a capacity of 500 inmates. The prison housed 525 prisoners as of June 2017.

The Bordelais Correctional Facility presently is close to exceeding its capacity with about 330 persons on remand and 170 already sentenced.

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