Vaz commits to addressing high electricity costs, telecomms services

Vaz commits to addressing high electricity costs, telecomms services

Monday, September 14, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Newly appointed Minister of Energy, Science and Technology, Daryl Vaz, says high electricity bills and the poor quality of telecommunications services offered to Jamaicans will be chief among the issues he plans to address as he assumes his new portfolio responsibilities.

Speaking after the swearing-in of Cabinet ministers at King's House on Sunday, Vaz said that “the vexing issues for the public will have to be addressed first and that is the situation with the light bills and also the poor service with the phones and Internet. This is especially in light of the pandemic, where there are so many thousands of persons at home, especially schoolchildren and with back-to-school”.

“So I am going to have to work very closely with the Ministry of Education and get some things done very quickly, so that will definitely be our priority in light of the fact that school is about to reopen,” he pointed out.

Minister Vaz said he wants to ensure that Jamaicans have access to reliable telecommunications services.

“Whether or not there is need for additional players, that is something that will also be addressed. Competition drives efficiency and, of course, prices,” he pointed out.

He said that the matter of net metering and digitisation will also be among the priority areas.

Minister Vaz said he is “very honoured” at the expression of confidence by the prime minister in appointing him to head a ministry that has a crititcal role to play as the country faces a pandemic.

He said he comes to the office with a reputation “for getting things done” and pledged to ensure that the ministry is equipped with the necessary technical expertise in order to effectively carry out its role and achieve the targets set.

“What is going to be very critical is to appoint very strong, competent boards…because that is going to make or break the ministry in terms of getting some of the fundamental changes that need to be dealt with,” he said.

Minister Vaz said he is looking forward to getting a full brief this week, “getting myself familiarised and acclimatised and get going fully because it's a tall order and, of course, I would want to make the Prime Minister, the Government and the people of Jamaica proud”.

He said that he will outline in detail his plans for the Ministry in short order.

During the last administration, Vaz served as Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation with responsibility for the land, environment, climate change and investment portfolios, and later as the minister with responsibility for water and housing.

He has also served as minister of state in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for project implementation and service delivery and was opposition spokesman on land and the environment.

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