In what appears to be a radical move, Montego Bay’s mayor, Councillor Homer Davis, is urging the Government to demolish the St James Parish library, which is across the road from the St James Parish Court, and build a multistorey judiciary complex there.
“You could build a multi-purpose centre by putting the library on top and have the courthouses on the first two, three floors with an underground or multistorey parking,” said Davis, who was responding to a statement by Justice Minister Delroy Chuck, that the lands the Government was seeking in Freeport for that purpose was not available.
“Couldn’t we move the library? Couldn’t we get rid of the library, couldn’t we block that driveway? Couldn’t we demolish everything there and make one big justice centre right there? You are not going to find a piece of land of three, four acres to accommodate a courthouse in Montego Bay that easily. Railway [corporation] have land there, but Government has to be bold, take bold steps and do what is right.”
He continued, “So if you have to relocate 500 to 600 people, you do that because you won’t find a parcel of land to accommodate [a state-of-the-art court complex] what the minister is talking about. He is talking about an ultra-modern justice centre. We have been hearing this thing for a very long time, so if acquiring land means you have to change some people’s lives – meaning you have to relocate them to much better place – so be it.”
GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO BE BOLD
According to the mayor, the Government needs to be decisive, as land acquisition is paramount to future development. He said some areas within Montego Bay, which were residential areas, will not come back to what they used to be.
“The Government has lands on Howard Cooke [Boulevard], Railway Corporation has land on Howard Cooke. The Government needs to be bold and take bold steps. There can’t be change without chaos, but change must be for the better of our people,” explained Davis.
“We have to look and see where would be the best place and move with alacrity. I have been hearing about the construction of a courthouse from I was a young policeman, and at one point it was said that it would be built on lands where Centre Point Plaza is. This was about 30-odd years ago and we still here lamenting.”