October 23, 2013
The recently constructed Magistrate's Court Complex yesterday flooded with suspected sewage water, forcing hours-long delays and the premature adjournment of some cases.
Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt said the court was experiencing plumbing issues.
When The Nassau Guardian left the complex yesterday evening, a large part of the foyer area was covered with what court officials suspect was sewage water.
Officials said the area where defendants are held was also partially flooded.
A strong stench permeated the foyer. At several points the foul odor also seeped into the courtroom.
Several defendants placed their hands over their mouths and noses as they were being escorted into the courtroom. Several people also appeared to choke.
Ferguson-Pratt described the scent as malodorous and apologized to the public for the state of the court complex.
She said she took steps to inform the relevant parties so the problem could be rectified.
She also adjourned several matters in the court she presides over. Ferguson-Pratt explained that she could not continue with all of her matters with the facility as it was.
She only dealt with first pleas and other urgent matters.
"I really want to expedite matters this afternoon," she said. "This is unbelievable."
Ferguson-Pratt added that she is most "unhappy" with the state of the court.
The complex has been plagued with a number of issues since it opened in January 2012.
Minister of Works and Urban Development Philip Brave Davis recently highlighted the issues.
Among them is a leaking roof.
Davis said the government is working to repair all of the problems associated with that complex.
He criticized the former administration over the state of the facility.
Construction on the court complex began in 2005. In 2008, Adler Construction was awarded a $6.4 million contract to complete the job.
"We are revisiting the design of the court," Davis said earlier this month. "A lot of concerns have been expressed about the layout of the court.
"We are addressing them to see how and if we can make the adjustments to the venue in a way that will be cost effective."
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News date : 10/23/2013 Category : Nassau Guardian Stories