Lawyer moves to have JPS licence challenge recalled

BY PAUL HENRY Court/Crime Desk co-ordinator

Monday, July 30, 2012    

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THE legal challenge against the Jamaica Public Service Company's (JPS's) exclusive all-island licence could be called up in the Supreme Court for a second time since judgement was reserved in the matter last month.

Attorney Hugh Wildman, who is representing the claimants in the case, told the Jamaica Observer last week that he has discovered two other cases that he's certain will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that monopolies are illegal.

Copies of the cases — Darcey v Allen, January 1, 1599 and Davenant v Hubris of 1601 — have been sent to Justice Bryan Sykes and the lawyers in the matter with a view to having the matter reconvened in the Supreme Court so that submissions can be made.

In the 1599 case, the Privy Council overturned an exclusive licence granted by the Queen to Darcey, a member of her court, to import and sell playing cards.

The Privy Council remarked in its ruling that all forms of monopolies are illegal and stifles competition and "promote idleness". The court also noted that monopolies will result in the high cost of whatever product or service is being offered.

"All forms of monopoly is contrary to the common law and the laws of God," the law lords stated in the Privy Council meeting.

This is the second time since June, when the matter was reserved for judgement, that Wildman will be seeking to bring back the case.

Earlier this month, the case was recalled for submissions to be made on a 1913 case — the London Electric Supply Corporation Ltd v Westminster Electric Supply Corporation Ltd — which was discovered by Wildman.

The lawyers representing the JPS, the energy minister and the Office of Utilities Regulation argued that the 1913 case had no relevance to the matter before the court.

Sykes is expected to make a ruling on the matter in September.

Former Government Senator Dennis Meadows, Betty Ann Blaine and Cyrus Rousseau of the group Citizens United for the Reduction of Electricity (CURE) are challenging the legality of the licence, claiming 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.

They are asking that the court declare illegal, the 20-year licence that was issued by the minister of energy in 2001 and renewed in 2007.





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