Completion of St John’s Magistrate’s Court refurbishment delayed

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front 5 work update
Grays Green Community Centre where the St John’s Magistrate’s Court currently operates from (left), and the old St John’s Magistrate’s Court building on the corner of High and Temple Streets (File photos)
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By Robert A. Emmanuel

[email protected]

Residents of Grays Green hoping to finally play basketball or just socialise at their community centre may have to wait until the end of summer.

Financial troubles have caused delays to the completion of repairs at the St John’s Magistrate’s Court, which has been sitting at the community centre since April 2019.

The court whose official location is on High Street and Temple Street has been undergoing works for some time.

When the community centre was first used as the court’s premises, it was expected to be a temporary measure. Court staff had been complaining about their working conditions for weeks.

In December 2018, the workers, through their union, wrote to the Ministry of Legal Affairs about the deplorable state of the building and gave authorities three months to relocate them.

The temporary measure employed was to relocate the workers to the “Knuckle Block” facility.

However, the estimated six weeks have now become four years since the centre was used as a sports facility.

Minister of Works Maria Browne gave Observer an update.

“Presently, we are meeting with the contractor to see how we can go forward, [as] we do have some issues in terms of financing, but we are working that out currently,” she said.

The repair work on the High Street building formally began in 2021 after plans to house both the All Saints and St John’s Magistrate’s Courts in the same facility were scrapped by then Minister of Works Lennox Weston.

Meanwhile, on a separate matter, dust suppression systems to keep quarry dust away from neighbouring homes may soon be in place, Minister Browne said.

“We recently purchased some dust suppression systems, so they are on their way and being shipped to Antigua,” she explained.

Residents near the Burma and Bendals quarry have long complained about the impact of aggregate dust on their lung health, while the fine particulate matter also causes misery in their homes.

Recent efforts to increase production at the quarries saw residents’ woes amplified.

Repeated inhalation of aggregate dust may cause long-term damage to health, American pulmonologist Dr Panagis Galiatsatos, of the John Hopkins Bayview Medical Centre, told Observer in May.

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