Council wants street lights fixed on timely basis

Thursday, May 16, 2019

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COUNCILLORS at the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation are pressing the council to insist that the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) fix defective street lights in the municipality on a timely basis, now that Government has paid off its debt of $9 billion.

A resolution approved at the council meeting on Tuesday, called for defective street lights to be fixed within 14 days or less from the date a report is made to the JPS.

The resolution pointed out that although JPS regulations “stipulated that street light repairs should be done within 14 days after the request has been made”, there were instances where “councillors and Members of Parliament have reported malfunctioning street lights that have existed for months and sometimes in excess of one year”.

The resolution, moved by People's National Party Councillor Andrew Swaby (Vineyard Town Division), called for an audit of street lights twice per year and for remittances to the JPS to reflect the results of the audit.

Swaby said that people in his division were upset that street lights were not being repaired quickly and were venting their frustration on WhatsApp.

Three PNP councillors representing inner city divisions also argued that the JPS needed to be more accountable in fixing street lights in the city.

PNP Councillor Eugene Kelly (Whitfield Town Division) said that the failure of the JPS to fix the street lights was a national security issue. “In some divisions 30 per cent of the street lights are not working. I think the people should explore a possible class action suit against the JPS,” he said.

Neville Wright, PNP councillor for the Trench Town Division, said that a number of incidents that occurred in his division would not have happened if the street lights were working.

Also, Dennis Gordon, PNP councillor for the Maxfield Park Division, spoke of several instances of women being raped on Norman Manley Drive because the street lights are not working.

However, Jamaica Labour Party councillor Jermaine Hyatt (Denham Town Division) said that “in my division some street lights have been fixed”. He said that the councillors needed to be more balanced in their complaints against the light and power company.

Beverly Prince, JLP councillor (Cassia Park Division) also said that she had noticed a marked improvement in the number of street lights that had been fixed.

JLP Councillor Duane Smith (Chancery Hall Division) said that he did not support the resolution as the JPS had been fixing street lights in every division. He said that he believed that the JPS should be accountable but the company's accountability should not be to the council.

Swaby said that he was shocked that Smith seemed to be unaware that street lights are a responsibility of councillors.”We are here representing the people of the municipality and the Ministry of Local Government pays the bill to the JPS on our behalf,” he said.

– Claudienne Edwards

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