Democratic Labour Party president Verla De Peiza has thrown their party’s full support behind Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s plans to increase the number of criminal courts and introduce a commercial law court.
In welcoming the news, which was announced by Mottley in Parliament this morning, De Peiza, a lawyer, noted that this was exactly the grease needed for the grinding wheels of justice, especially in the High Court
The DLP leader said: “At present there are two courts only dealing with criminal matters and after the preliminary inquiries stage was abandoned it meant that there was an immediate backlog at the high court. So, my position is that any number of new courts is great.”
She argued that the Supreme Court at White Park Road has been underused for a long time and that space is readily available for new courts to be established to ease the backlog.
“I have always held the view that the Supreme Court building, as it was designed, is more of a mall and less of a court because there is a lot of space that can be converted into good use. So hopefully that will be happening. There are four courts downstairs and only two work at any given time because there are only two judges on the criminal circuit. So, if we are getting more courts that is great and I am confident that it will be welcomed by the criminal bar,” she said.
But the former senator pointed out that with new courts should come not only additional judges but extra support staff. She noted that along with carving out physical space, Government needed to ensure that the new courts are properly staffed, a scenario she now sees as ironic given the recent decision to retrench court clerks.
“If you are going to announce that there will be more courts then I assume and expect that all of these things have already been factored in. So, it is not just about judges but also prosecutors and court staff. We just sent home a number of court clerks so Government may just have to hire them back. There are many things which must flow from this decision but once they are all sorted it will be a welcomed addition,” she said.
Mottley revealed that the Attorney General is to seek funds for the establishment of more criminal courts and a commercial court in the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure, due to come before Parliament next week.