New Palais de Justice building to start soon |18 March 2011
The new courts are expected to be opened during June 2012.
The stone-laying was done by Court of Appeal president Francis MacGregor, chief justice Fredrick Egonda-Ntende and Chinese ambassador to Seychelles Wang Weiguo.
Present at the ceremony were Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean-Paul Adam, former chief justice Ranjan Perera, judges, attorney-general Ronny Govinden, chairman of the Seychelles Bar Association Anthony Derjacques and Seychellois architect of the plan Patrick Moustache.
Other guests were staff of the judiciary, representatives of the Chinese embassy and of the Qingjian Group.
During the ceremony Wang Shouyou, director-general of the Qingjian Group’s Seychelles branch, briefed those present on the project before signing the construction agreement with Mr Egonda-Ntende.
The project, which is costing R90 million, will be made up of three sections – the courtrooms, the generator room and the security room.
Mr Wang Shouyou said the whole project is architecturally designed for a 50-year span of operation.
He added that training will be given to local counterparts once the project is completed.
Addressing those present, Mr Wang Weiguo said the Seychelles government is making all efforts to strengthen democracy, and law and order, which are the basics of a modern society.
“The Chinese government fully supports this pursuit and is helping Seychelles with a government grant and a construction team,” he said.
He added that in the new building judges will have a more comfortable working environment, and with the enlarged judiciary capacity Seychelles will be able to give more support in the fight against piracy.
In his address, Mr Egonda-Ntende thanked the Seychelles and Chinese governments for funding the project, judges and other staff of the judiciary and all those who have contributed to develop the project.
He said it is important for the independence of the judiciary to be maintained, and it is its accountability that demonstrates whether it is independent or not.
Accountability shows whether or not the judiciary is providing value for money in terms of the public resources put at its disposal, and whether it is meeting the legitimate expectations of the people, he added.
“As we go forward with this project, it is important that as an organisation we consider and reflect on the establishment of standards for court usage in the Magistrates’ Court and Supreme Court,” said Mr Egonda-Ntende, assuring the public that the judiciary is committed and dedicated to their service.
“We shall continue our efforts to improve the services we offer to you,” he said.
The Palais de Justice has been designed by architects from the Qingdao Architectural Design and Research Institute.