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JPS files appeal

BY PAUL HENRY Crime/Court Desk co-ordinator henryp@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, August 30, 2012    

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THE Jamaica Public Service (JPS) has filed an appeal against the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the exclusivity aspect of its all-island licence.

But yesterday, Hugh Wildman, the lawyer who represents the group that had challenged the light and power company's licence, said that the JPS' decision to contest Justice Bryan Sykes' ruling is going to cost the utility company "dearly".

"JPS should have left the matter alone and renegotiated its licence. They should have made sleeping dogs lie," Wildman told the

Jamaica Observer.

He said that he will be filing a counter appeal today in which he will ask the Court of Appeal to formally declare the current JPS licence illegal. The attorney said that he will be also ask the court to rule that the light and power company refund the Jamaican public all the profits it derived under the licence.

"That will be devastating for them because they will not be able to pay back all that money," Wildman said. "It will cost them dearly. They should have left it alone, but they want the monopoly at all cost. They will have to pack up and leave Jamaica after this."

Wildman said that his clients — former Government Senator Dennis Meadows, Betty-Ann Blaine, and Cyrus Rousseau of the group Citizens United for the Reduction of Electricity (CURE) — will also be appealing the aspect of Justice Sykes' ruling that the energy minister is allowed, under law, to grant a licence to a single entity to provide electricity for the entire island.

Last month, Justice Sykes ruled that the exclusive aspect of the 20-year all-island licence issued by the energy minister to JPS in 2001 is invalid. The ruling means that other players can now enter the energy market.

At the same time, the judge ruled that the minister was within his rights to grant a licence to a single entity to provide power to the entire island. The ruling runs counter to the arguments made by the claimants that Section 3 of the Electric Lighting Act of 1890 stipulates that electricity is to be provided by several different entities, and in specified areas of the island.

For its part, the JPS is appealing the decision to revoke the exclusivity of its licence. It has filed on several grounds, including that Sykes erred in ruling as he did. That appeal was filed on Monday.

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