The Judiciary hosted an official handing over ceremony on Friday 8 April 2022 to mark the completion of the renovation works undertaken on the façade and in the courtrooms of the Palais de Justice building.
In attendance for this occasion was the Minister for Land and Housing, Mr. Billy Rangasamy, her Excellency the Ambassador for the People’s Republic of China, Mrs. GUO Wei, the Chief Justice’s office, Registrar of the Supreme Court, Supreme Court judges, officials from the Infrastructure Agency, representatives of Sinohydro Engineering and Construction company, officials from Foreign Affairs, and members of the joint project committee who steered the project in the past four months.
The beautification project for the Palais de Justice began in October 2021 with the painting of the exterior walls. However since January 2022, internal works began to improve the office spaces and courtrooms.
Renovations of the Palais de Justice’s courtrooms, judges’ chambers, and office spaces officially begun as from Monday the 24 January 2022. The entire project of internal renovations, which was part of the wider beautification plan for the Judiciary, took a total of four months and was done in phases beginning with Supreme Court rooms 5, 6 and 9 simultaneously.
“This renovation project has been of utmost importance to us, and we are pleased to see its success from start to finish,” Chief Justice Rony Govinden said in his address at the ceremony.
“It is proof of our ability to collaborate and cooperate on large scale projects in order to revive this institution, so we may see it in all its glory, as it used to be. It is important for those who access this courthouse, both staff and public, to take pride in it; not just on a superficial level, but also because of what it represents to society. The Judiciary is one of the main and independent pillars of government, one people look to for justice and quality public service. As such it is only fitting that the building reflects the dedication and passion that those working within its walls possess.”
The Chief Justice outlined the fact that the institution needed to strike a balance between getting the renovation works done, and not impeding on people’s access to justice.
He also thanked the Chinese government, Sinohydro, and the Ministry of Land and Housing for their mutual assistance in this endeavor.
Her Excellency Ambassador GUO Wei shared a bit of background on this project, highlighting that the building was originally donated by the People’s Republic of China.
“In December 2019, Chinese State Councilor WANG Yong made the commitment during his official visit to Seychelles, that a Chinese company would undertake the refurbishment of the building,” she said in her address. “Now Sinohydro has funded and completed the project, which is not only a demonstration of Chinese enterprise, but also another testimony to the traditional friendship between the two countries,” she noted.
A representative from Sinohydro, Mr Zhou Lin, shared a few words on their success in renovation project and thanked the joint management committee for their support.
A short video prepared by Sinohydro was also played at the ceremony to showcase progress made in the renovations through before and after footage of the building.
In December 2021, the National Tender Board awarded the contract to Dubai Civil Engineering & Construction. The internal renovations include repainting all the walls in the entire building, and replacing all the floorings in the courtrooms and judges’ chambers. The project is costing SCR 1,976,531.00 (One million, nine hundred and seventy six thousand, five hundred and thirty one).
Since the building was donated to Seychelles by the Chinese government in 2013, no renovation works had ever been conducted to maintain the building.
Director of Operations and Logistics for the Judiciary, Paul Derjacques, coordinated the plan with oversight from the Chief Justice’s office.