Pavement view of the International Waterfront from the footpath on Wrightson Road in Port of Spain. File photo/Roger Jacob
Tower D of the Waterfront Centre, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain, has been officially designated the Waterfront Judicial Centre.The designation was gazetted on Wednesday.The notice in the Gazette said Tower D, in particular, the ground floor to the thirteenth floor, except for the twelfth floor, has been designated as a place for the sitting of the Supreme Court, with effect from Wednesday.Matters scheduled to be heard at the centre will be “stated and published as such,” said the notice, signed by Chief Justice Ivor Archie. The centre will house the Judiciary’s civil division of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal.
Tower D was previously occupied by the Parliament from 2011-2020 while restoration work was done at the Red House.It was announced in 2019 that the Judiciary would take possession of 13 floors at Tower D when the Parliament vacated it, which it did in January 2020. Udecott was in charge of outfitting the new location, with the input of the Judiciary.
On Monday, judges began moving into their new chambers, along with their support staff. Also at the centre is the Judicial Education Institute, which was outfitted with streamlined technology, high-definition capture solutions, and e-learning software.The relocation now provides the Hall of Justice with 40 courtrooms, 24 hearing rooms, five mediation rooms, and some 69 criminal courtrooms. Courtrooms have been outfitted with video screens to broadcast live streams linking prisoners and witnesses in various virtual access customer centres and other judicial centres, outfitted as courtrooms. Jury trials, which were suspended in March 2020, resumed earlier this year.This week, technicians were busy outfitting the new courtrooms at the Waterfront Judicial Centre. Newsday was told the courtrooms were very “high tech.”The Chief Justice has said the Judiciary was thrilled to move to Tower D, as it had outgrown the Hall of Justice.