CIG buys former Scotia building for court

| 05/09/2018 | 28 Comments
Scotiabank, Cayman News Service

Scotiabank’s old George Town branch

(CNS): Court officials have confirmed that the government has purchased the Scotia complex on Cardinal Avenue in downtown George Town. The sale was reportedly completed on Friday and is part of a larger scheme for new court facilities, but in the meantime it will facilitate the short-term needs of the courts. “We thank the government for securing this investment on behalf of the Court and Judicial Administration which will provide some ‘breathing room’ for staff and court users until the larger project is realised,” said Suzanne Bothwell, the Court Administrator and Chief Officer of Judicial Administration.

The lands ministry is expected to issue a press release with more details later this week. So far, no details have been reported about the purchase price, but the court has been seeking a way to deal with its massive space problems for years. The former Scotia bank building is located directly behind the current main court building and was vacated by the bank just a few months ago when it relocated its headquarters to Camana Bay.

Every year at the Opening of the Grand Court , the chief justice has railed against the failure to get the new courthouse project off the ground and the continued challenges the court has in trying to accommodate the increasing caseload across the financial, civil, family, traffic, summary, grand and appeal courts.

During the Finance Committee hearings for the 2018/19 budget held in November last year, Bothwell revealed that over the last decade more that $1 million had been spent on plans and exploring the possibility of building a new courthouse without settling on a solution. but the pressing need for the facility was now posing a constitutional challenge.

“We have significant backlogs in cases, we have insufficient courtrooms, we have insufficient facilities to even allow for our judges to sit on a consistent basis, therefore significantly delaying the administration of justice” she said.

$400,000 had been voted for this budget to enable government to explore other options after it was revealed that plans for a purpose-built facility, complete with cells, could cost as much as $177 million.

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Category: Courts, Crime, development, Local News

Comments (28)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    177million?? That will just be the start of it

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  2. Two Cents says:

    Smashing ol’ chaps.
    It even has space to park a two dozen bicycles on the side facing the Court.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    They couldve used that money and built a half decent prison in East End.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Interesting to see what the business case looks like for a building requiring major renovations with absolutely no parking. It is certainly better than nothing, but at what relative cost? The only obvious advantage of this building is proximity to the other existing broken down court buildings that also need renovation and parking. Go fo it.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Oh boy, still no space for parking. That is a big problem that people have, when they have to attend court.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Interesting use for the vault….

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Next, turn the Glass House into a prison for white collar criminals. We are surely going to need it to house the rest of civil and public service underworld in the coming years.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Better off knocking it down (its unusable) and building a proper office for CIMA so they can stop paying external commercial rent year after year. Now that would be a good use of Government money.

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    • Anonymous says:

      An amazing achievement. I have to laugh at you posters. First your complain that the government is dragging its feet on new accommodation for the Court. Then the government secures accommodation and your response complain complain. I am so thankful I don’t live in your world.

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  8. Concerned says:

    But isn’t that building old and condemned?
    Isn’t over 30 years old?

    I am just asking

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    • Anonymous says:

      In other countries (think European like France, Italy, England) buildings are hundreds of years old & are not ‘condemned’, indeed many landmarks/buildings of historic interest are protected.
      Is everything here built so shoddy that it must condemned & not re purposed?

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      • Anonymous says:

        Not everything. Some buildings are just too ugly to keep. I wish we had many that were old that were worth highlighting and preserving but we don’t. The Scotia building might as well be Brutalist and there’s no place for that ‘style’ on a Caribbean island. Buildings like the Post Office and Elmslie Memorial will get the historic building treatment over time; they’ve got some years and history on them.

    • Anonymous says:

      Old, but not condemned. Still in good shape internally actually. Scotia kept up on their maintenance.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    The irony is that this building was once used as a means to rob customers in exorbitant fees and now, said building will be used to try suspected criminals. smh

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  10. Anonymous says:

    This is unbelievable, did our overpaid and under worked Politicians investigate the condition of this building? This building was built in 1970 / 1971 and probably has a life span of about 40 to 50 years, or less as at that time the contractors used well / brackish or salt water to mix concrete as that was all we had. Do the math, the building probably has less that 10 years left before it will need to be demolished. Were there any inspections done regarding the condition of the steel in the building? Probably not, but I remember not too long ago there was a lot of cosmetic repairs done to the building due to the deteriorating condition of the steel.

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    • It seems like a worthy investment, regardless of the remaining shelf-life, even if they have to demolish the building and rebuild in five to ten years. It is in the vicinity of the current courts location and is prime real estate which could be renovated and used for the courts or other government entities or sold for profit later after renovating the current courts facilities.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    This is the best time to buy more downtown real estate before prices go up like SMB. The government has excess cash at the moment. Before burning through it on dumb project, they should buy their own buildings instead of paying rent to landlords.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    World Class ! The Government has done so much in the past year. The Airport renovations are almost Complete, crime is down, new development project being announced almost weekly, huge surplus budget. It simply doesn’t get any better than this.

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