Fix the derelict Supreme Court Building on Coleridge Street, the City, or close it down.
Opposition Senator Wilfred Abrahams made this call yesterday in the Senate while speaking on a Resolution to approve, in accordance with Section 5 (1) (C) of the Crown Lands (Vesting and Disposal) Act Cap. 225, the lease to the Barbados Conference Services Limited of a parcel of land together with the buildings thereon, situate at Two Mile Hill, St Michael.
While throwing his support behind the upgrading of the facilities at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre (LESC), Abrahams acknowledged that the objectives and priorities of no two governments were ever the same.
Abrahams, who is the Barbados Labour Party’s caretaker for the constituency of Christ Church East, questioned the expenditure of large sums of money on the LESC and not “one red cent” on the old Supreme Court building.
The attorney-at-law drew the Senate’s attention to a media report that a large piece of masonry in the archway which leads to the lower courts yesterday fell to the ground where several people gather on a daily basis.
He recalled noticing a chair placed across the archway and a guard shepherding away from under it, people who were in court yesterday.
Abrahams stressed that the archway represented “functioning and functional premises and facilities” for persons attending court.
The Opposition Senator pointed out that the compound was used for the Magistrates’ Court and it houses the District ‘A’ Magistrates Courts 1 and 2 and the Traffic Court.
He said: “Hundreds of people utilize that compound every single day. The archway for those who have gone into the court is where people sit or stand or congregate to await their cases being called. The archway actually has the greatest traffic on the entire compound.
“A couple months ago, I drew attention to the fact that the roof of the veranda was about to collapse and someone propped it up. At least it is no longer dropping down. If we intend to use that compound for legitimate business, that compound should be made
safe. It is a case now of fix it, or shut it down. It is a danger.”
Abrahams suggested that some basic maintenance or some restoration must be carried out by Government to make it safe for the public. He contended that if a section of the compound was not used as the Magistrates’ Court, it would have been condemned.
Arguing that it was an historic building and one of Barbados’ national treasures, Abrahams suggested that it should be recognized as one of Barbados heritage sites in the City.
Suggesting that some money could be spent on the building, Abrahams said: “Put a restaurant in there. Put something else in there. Do something that would make it pay for itself, but at all cost we have to do something with the building. I use those Courts. Senator Verla De Peiza uses those courts and the access to get to the Magistrates’ Court is through the car-park
and under the archway.