Judiciary: Old Sando court will be demolished soon

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The Judiciary says a contract has been awarded for the demolition of the old San Fernando magistrates’ court building at the corner of Knox and Harris streets. – Lincoln Holder

THE Judiciary said a contract has been formally awarded to demolish the burnt-out, old San Fernando magistrates’ court.

The contract was formally awarded on September 12, the judiciary said in a statement.

In response to calls for the building, constructed in 1931, to be torn down, the Judiciary said that had long been its intention.

Since 2017, court matters originally scheduled for the old court have been relocated to alternative sites while repair of its roof was being attempted. A shift system was instituted with the San Fernando High Court to accommodate those changes.

However, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake in 2018 caused further damage to the old court. Further, the first phase of repairs on the old court which started in 2020, was interrupted by covid19 and equipment challenges.

Subsequently, the old court was condemned.

A new magistrates’ court is now under construction at Irving Street, San Fernando.

With two fires reported at the old court within the last week, the Judiciary has noted that the demolition of that building is now long overdue.

Given the old court’s proximity to the San Fernando Supreme Court, office of National Insurance Board, St Joseph’s Convent, a church, city hall and other important institutions, the Greater San Fernando Chamber on Sunday called for the immediate demolition of the building.

The Judiciary said a meeting was held with the San Fernando City Engineer on September 15 to discuss the details of demolition works and to ensure that all approvals were in place to facilitate it.

On Tuesday, San Fernando Chamber president Kiran Singh, in welcoming the award of a demolition contract for the old court, suggested the site be used as a carpark until there is a definite purpose for the space.