Court rules against Hope Pastures residents in case with JPS

KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Supreme Court on Thursday morning ruled against residents of Hope Pastures in their long-running dispute with the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) over the underground electricity distribution system in their community.

The residents had filed a suit against JPS, claiming that they are entitled to electricity exclusively by underground means.

They had based their argument on the fact that an underground electricity system was installed in the community when it was built by private developers in the early 1960s, and therefore JPS could not change the system.

However, JPS argued that the system was old and could not be properly maintained.

In its ruling on Thursday morning, the court determined that the underground distribution system failed due to age and obsolescence and not a lack of maintenance. As such, the court said it could not be repaired but had to be replaced.

The court also said that the replacement of the underground system does not fall within the JPS’s statutory obligation to repair and the cost of any new system is to be met by the claimants.

The court noted that after the residents indicated their inability and/or unwillingness to pay for a new underground supply, JPS acted out of necessity by installing overhead wires in the community.

Judgment was therefore entered for JPS with costs to be paid by the residents.

JPS was represented by Patrick Foster, QC; Symone Mayhew, QC; Ashley Mair; and Jacob Phillips.

The residents were represented by Anthony Gifford, QC; Emily Shields, and Maria Brady.

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