MEMBER of Parliament for St Andrew West Rural, Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn is calling on the Jamaica Public Service Company Limited (JPS) to provide more affordable options for residents in her constituency who wish to have legal electricity.
“I will not try to make light of the need for every household to have legal electricity. I also believe the Jamaica Public Service has the power to provide residential electricity at a more affordable cost,” she said while making her contribution to the State of the Constituency Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
Cuthbert-Flynn said that one of the reasons why there are still several communities without legal electricity is due to the affordability of purchasing light poles and wires.
“It is time for a more enlightening discussion with the entity to establish the best way forward,” she said.
Cuthbert-Flynn noted, however, that there are still positives to report regarding the provision of legal electricity in some parts of her constituency through the Rural Electrification Programme, noting that “we are at the finishing stages of connecting a community in Pinto, the Fraser Road community”.
Turning to the serious issue of informal housing, Cuthbert-Flynn warned her constituents that “they simply cannot build structures anywhere they choose to establish”.
“The terrain in my constituency is not suitable for building structures and this must be taken seriously. We have witnessed a few tragedies, unfortunately, due to unregulated building in places unfit for housing and clearly a house in the wrong place with illegal electricity, is a double tragedy waiting to happen,” she said.
She noted that there have been fires due to unregulated and illegal electricity, “and unfortunately, there are a few who just refuse to pay for electricity and prefer serious risks, taking the chance to place hazardous andâ€¦some very colourful wires along the lines”.
The MP pointed out, however, that most of the residents want to be connected legally and want the comfort of using legal electricity, along with the safety it brings to their families and communities.
“While we as legislators and elected representatives seek to alleviate the issue of informal housing and settlements, it is only fair that JPS seeks a solution for residents of these communities who are willing to pay to provide the necessary infrastructure, the poles, the wires it can so this can be a benefit to the residents,” she said.