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High Court Restored After Hurricane Lisa Damage

A year and a half after Hurricane Lisa wreaked havoc on Belize's High Court, the historic building has been restored to its former glory. The extensive $2.91 million restoration project aimed to preserve the building’s original aesthetics while modernizing its structure.

Chief Engineer Evondale Moody from the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Housing (MIDH) explained the efforts to retain the building’s historical integrity. "The idea was to try and retain most of the aesthetics that the original building had because we could not change that and we did not want to change it because we wanted to maintain the integrity of the original structure."

The restoration included a new steel roof to withstand local weather conditions and significant interior redesign. “We had to ensure that we constructed a new roof because the entire roof was gone and so we have a new steel structure roof in place,” Moody stated. The building's interior was completely gutted and redesigned in consultation with the Chief Justice to meet the needs of modern courtrooms.

Approximately 60% of the original structure was preserved, with efforts made to retain original materials such as the courtroom wood. "We did not do anything to that. We try our best to retain that so we stand it and brought it back to its original condition,” Moody noted.

The restoration project stayed within its $3 million budget, with additional funds allocated for furnishing the building. This restoration allows judicial matters in the city to be handled in one central location, improving efficiency for attorneys, claimants, defendants, and accused persons.

Chief Justice Louise Blenman highlighted the importance of the restored courthouse for Belize’s judicial system. “It is essential that a democratic country such as Belize has a stable and predictable justice system as that which exists. So today the commissioning of this newly renovated building quite coincides with and compliments numerous transformative and far-reaching judicial initiatives in Belize.”

The reopening of the High Court marks a significant milestone in the country's ongoing efforts to enhance its judicial infrastructure and service delivery, ensuring that justice is accessible and efficient for all citizens.

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