Economic Development Minister Guy Joseph has strongly criticised calls for the relocation of the Magistrate court in Castries, asserting that they are politically motivated.
The calls came in the wake of bomb threats against the court, resulting last week in the evacuation of schools in the centre of the capital and concern for the well-being of students.
Some of the students of the nearby Ave Maria Infant school had to be taken to hospital for treatment for trauma.
“If you have to evaluate the distance of a courthouse from a school, I think it would be clear that the previous courthouse may have been as close to the R.C school as the existing courthouse, or the temporary courthouse is to the Ave Maria School,” Guy Joseph told reporters outside parliament on Tuesday.
He expressed the view that the issue pertained more to the bomb threats than the location of schools or the courthouse.
Joseph declared that the same individuals who are crying foul today were the ones who opposed the relocation of the courthouse.
“We must not forget what happens in this country,” the Castries South East MP stated.
He expressed the view that when it is politically expedient for some people, it should be done, and when it is not, it should not be done.
“If a courthouse is a place of bomb scares, are you telling me that the other people who work in proximity to the courthouse are of less value?”
“Are their lives less valuable?” Joseph asked.
“Don’t we all walk by the courthouses? Where is the Cathedral located? Where was the Cathedral located in relation to the courthouse for so many years? Did I hear anybody call for the removal of the courthouse because it’s too close to the Cathedral? ”
“What about when you have a funeral there and you have a couple thousand people there – Isn’t that a target?” Joseph asked reporters.
“We have to be realistic – that when people have their own political ambitions and they try to use scare tactics on the society to achieve their aims,” the Minister said.
He asked where in the world courthouses are in isolation from civilisation.
“The courthouse was next to the parliament – so could it be that nothing should be in proximity to the parliament? Are we real about what we are asking and what we are saying?”
The Minister asserted that if that is the approach, the courthouse needs to be built somewhere that is in total isolation in an area where there should be no development.