Regional

Fix the lights!

Councillor blames defective street lamps for crimes in his division

BY HORACE HINES Observer West reporter LOWE RIVER, Trelawny

Thursday, August 14, 2014    

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Independent councillor for the Lorrimers Division in Trelawny, Paul Patmore is livid over the Jamaica Public Service's (JPS) failure to repair in excess of 30 of the roughly 210 streetlights in his division, which he claimed, has been out of service since January.

"The lights have been out of service since January. I have made numerous representations on behalf of the people as far back as January and seven months later we still have nothing to show. Not even one of the streetlights I have reported since January has been fixed since," Patmore told the Observer West last week.

He expressed concern that the power supply company might be refusing to repair the streetlights in reprisal for the outstanding electricity bills owed to them by parish councils across the island.

But, JPS parish manager for the parishes of Trelawny and St James, Marvin Campbell in dispelling the notion, pointed out that the power supply company was faced with some difficulties at the start of the year.

"We had some initial challenges at the start of the year and so there was a delay. But it had nothing to do with funding," Campbell stated, declining to give details.

He pointed out, however, that plans are afoot to effect repairs to a number of streetlights in the Lorrimers division very soon.

Meanwhile, Patmore is contending that in the absence of the streetlights, unknown assailants are now using the cover of darkness to carry out robberies and other crimes in some of the affected farming communities in the division.

"I am saying to my citizens to stay off the streets during the nights because it is not safe to come out. With 30 streetlights out in a division we are having a crisis right now," he told the Observer West.

Leader of the Wait-a-Bit Community Youth Club Chris Robinson agreed.

He argued that the lack of streetlights is causing untold problems for the residents. He made reference to a recent incident in which a man was stabbed and wounded at his home near the Wait-a-Bit square, where a streetlight is out of service.

"Him get stab up right deh suh. We deh pon the councillor (Patmore) case to get the light fix and we see him and him make the call over and over, but without any success," Robinson told the Observer West.

An elderly man, who gave his name as Wayne Rowe and who claimed to be the uncle of the man who was stabbed, said since the incident his nephew has fled the area.

"It difficult! My nephew who lived here (Wait-a-Bit), from him get stab up him leave the area because he is afraid. Him don't know the motive for the stabbing. He spent about six weeks in hospital and upon his release did not return to the community. He left to live with his father in Spanish Town. He was stabbed in his neck, his lungs were puncture," Rowe rued.

"People were there, but couldn't see the attacker because of the darkness."

Meanwhile, the head of the Wait-a-Bit Community Youth Club expressed that because of its central location, there is an urgent need for the streetlight at the intersection of Wait-bit-Bit and Green Town main road be repaired.

"The market truck let off the higglers coming from market right here at the intersection of Green Town and the Wait-a-Bit. It is the most populated area. The majority of the residents in the community live down in the lane at Green Town."

In the meantime, Patmore is also requesting that the JPS replace some decaying utility poles and clear bushes growing near the power lines in sections of the division.

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