‘This will save us so much in rent’  

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…Chancellor lauds initiative to build housing quarters for judicial officers

By Farah Bates  

To ensure a safe and secure place of accommodation for judicial officers who are operating in East Berbice Corentyne the Supreme Court of Judicature last Wednesday commissioned a multi-million-dollar housing quarters located in the compound of the Berbice High Court, New Amsterdam, Berbice.

The $92 million investment is one that will benefit magistrates, judges and Commissioners of Titles serving in the region. Prior to Wednesday’s commissioning of the building judicial officers had to endure the stress and trauma of locating their own place of residence when they were assigned duties in Berbice. The new building can house four families as it has four apartments, each containing a dining room, toilet and bath, kitchen, two bedrooms- one of which is self-contained.

Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards, Chancellor of the Judiciary, said such a major investment to provide a comfortable and secure place of abode for judicial officers who have been relocated to the ancient county shows the judiciary’s commitment of providing the best for all judicial officers. She also said that the facility will save the state money since over $4 million is being spent yearly to accommodate judicial officers in Berbice.

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The $92M four-apartment Judicial Housing Quarters located in the compound of the Berbice High

“This will last for generations to come. It will save us so much in rent, as well as security and safety of our officers.  A few years ago the decision was taken to build the Judicial Headquarters and then the same thinking, resulting in safe, comfortable accommodation for our staff. We will have Magistrates, Judges and Commissioners of Titles in one safe environment. Very soon we intend to have a gym, pergola and a gazebo in the compound for our staff to exercise and even relax after a hard day’s work,” the Chancellor said.

Sharing his experience while on duty in Berbice, Magistrate Peter Hugh said he vividly remembered the day he was assigned to serve in Berbice; while noting that he had never lived in the county before. He said his biggest challenges were to find a place to live and then, having full access to basic amenities.

“I had never lived in Berbice before, I may have visited on a few occasions. I remember having to find a place to live, I talked to a few colleagues trying to find out if they knew anyone who was renting. I remembered driving through Main Street looking to see if anyone had a ‘For Rent’ sign. Eventually I did find accommodation and then, the difficulty was amenities. I had to wait months before I could get the internet. In this modern day and age, the Internet is a very useful tool for entertainment and more importantly, research. Within the time that I have been serving in Berbice, I have relocated for several reasons twice, I only hope and I am rather certain that this is my last time relocating.”

Expressing gratitude to those who have played a major role in providing the new Judiciary Headquarters, Hugh said it is a sense of relief to know that there is now a safe, secure and comfortable accommodation for every judicial officer.  “The building is in the compound of the Berbice High Court; how much safer can you possibly get?”

During the commissioning ceremony, Attorney General, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, while delivering his feature address said that the facility brings to an end the distress judicial officers go through in order to find safe, sound and secure accommodations while living in East Berbice Corentyne. He also noted, that Magistrates, Judges, and other judicial officers, while living away from their own comfort and in unsafe environment are more vulnerable to threats and security risks, as such, by relocating them within the confines of a safe and secure place in the compound of the Berbice High Court, there is no doubt that they would all be securely and comfortably accommodated.

Chancellor of Judiciary, Justice Yonnette Cummings-Edwards and Attorney General, Mohabir Anil Nandlall during a tour of the facility

“This facility will bring to an end, the legacy of renting, dating back since colonial times where judicial officers and magistrates would’ve had to be relocated at locations across the coast; exposing them to security risks and exposing them to the perception of influences that would have been inimical to the best of interest of our justice system.”

He stated that the executive is elated to work collaboratively with the Judiciary as they continue to execute the mandate of delivering and providing quality justice to every Guyanese.

Also in attendance were: Chief Justice, Roxane George, Chief Magistrate, Ann McLennan, High; Court Judges, Sandra Kurtzious and Jo-Ann Barlow, Commissioners of Title, Nicola Pierre and Priscilla Haniff, Magistrates Alex Moore and Renita Singh along with other judicial staff.



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