The Waterfront Towers in Port-of-Spain to where Civil and Appeal Courts will be relocated.

The projected relocation of Civil and Appeal courts from the Hall of Justice to the Waterfront Complex will cost $56.7 million VAT exclusive.

Attorney General Faris Al Rawi gave the cost in Senate yesterday replying to Opposition queries on the project. He said the cost includes outfitting 13 floors at Tower D, and work including demolition and construction of walls plus furniture, electrical, IT outfitting and other work.

Due to the urgency of the project, he said tenders were issued by Udecott for selective tendering on January 24 to six contractors. A contractor will be selected in the next two weeks and work will start immediately. It’s estimated to be completed 16 weeks from the date of commencement.

Al Rawi said the relocation will provide 12 Civil courts at the Waterfront, two Appeal courts and 32 judges’ chambers. It will also consolidate in Tower D, a number of administrative judges’ offices, now being rented at other locations.

That will result in annual savings of $6m. Parking for Waterfront courts is also at Furness carpark which will accommodate 1,000 cars.

The relocation will also provide the Hall of Justice with 40 courtrooms, 24 hearing rooms five mediation rooms and 69 criminal courts—eight more than previously existed. “This is nothing short of brilliant news, well accomplished by a caring government,” he added.

On another query, Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat said 116 claims for assistance were received from South farmers affected by December 2019 floods. He said 89 claims were approved last December. This was valued at just over $1m. But 27 are yet to be approved due to missing documents and one was unrelated to flooding.

Rambharat declined to give any assurance that Government would reconsider its decision to demolish the Caroni Brechin Castle and Ste Madeline sugar factories. Detailing the Caroni closure, he said Sevilla House in Couva is a sugar history museum which stores industry records and displays equipment from the sector.