Temporary House venue still to be determined

  • Sessions House is set for renovations (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Arrangements for the renovation of Sessions House were still being finalised this week after MPs were asked to clear their desks last month.

Dennis Lister, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, said work on Sessions House was expected to be completed before next summer, in time for the 400th anniversary of Parliament.

He earlier told MPs to be prepared for renovations by removing their belongings as it was anticipated that when they returned after a seven-week break their sittings would be held elsewhere.

Sessions House was built in the early 1800s and also includes Supreme Court 1 and some offices for the courts.

All of the building’s occupants will require alternative accommodation.

It was understood this week that “loose ends” in the relocation process still had to be tied up.

Mr Lister said that Sessions House was among the oldest buildings in Bermuda still in use.

He added: “Recognising the age of the building requires the fact that it should be given proper attention.

“If we don’t look after the building in a proper manner, will it still be around in years to come?

“It only gets worse by lack of attention,” he said.

“We need to give it proper attention so it can continue to serve Bermuda for many years to come.”

Mr Lister told MPs last month that their next meeting would be on September 13.

He said then: “When we do come back in September we will be in another place for our sessions and ... as you know, the renovations will take place.”

He explained in April that the building was in need of “major modernisation renovations” to bring it up to modern standards, as well as preserve it.

Mr Lister said then that the Supreme Court would not return to Sessions House after the renovations.

He said at the time: “When the building is completed, the entire building will be for the purposes of housing the legislature and all the infrastructure that is required for supporting the legislature.”

The news came after the judiciary highlighted in its annual report that a lack of court space had contributed to a backlog of criminal cases.