Government has purchased the former headquarters of Scotiabank and Trust in George Town and plans to use the office building for much-needed additional court space.
The exact details of the sale have not yet been revealed and a formal statement is expected from the Ministry of Lands later this week.
Court Administrator Suzanne Bothwell confirmed to the Cayman Compass that the sale of the building on Cardinall Avenue, adjacent to the main court building, had gone through Friday.
She said, “This purchase is part of a larger scheme envisioned by the government, and this purchase is meant to facilitate the immediate short-term needs of the Court. 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 realized.”
Lack of court space has been a pressing concern in Grand Cayman for some time. The issue came to a head Monday when there was not enough space across the seven courtrooms and George Town Town Hall to accommodate the case work scheduled for the day.
At this year’s official opening of the Grand Court in January, Chief Justice Anthony Smellie said the need for additional court space was more urgent than ever. He stated at the time that a push for a new courthouse has been ongoing for 27 years and the current facilities had been described as “shoddy, cramped and wholly inadequate.”
It is not clear at this point if the Scotia purchase is considered the long-term solution. A business case was produced in 2016 for a new court facility, but the design options developed by PwC were considered unaffordable at that time.
Speaking about the issue in 2017, the chief justice said PwC had been asked to go “back to the drawing board” to consider more affordable options.