MAY PEN, Clarendon — A Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) representative’s warning that fewer street lights are being repaired set off a flurry of scathing remarks from members of the Clarendon Municipal Corporation (CMC) last Thursday.
For months, councillors have been calling for the power company to fix faulty street lights within their divisions and news that they should temporarily expect even less help from the JPS was not well received.
“From September to November we expect a reduction in repairs due to the increase in concentration on street light conversion across the network… We saw a reduction in the number of street lights that were repaired, which was greatly impacted due to contractor motor vehicle defects, motor vehicle accidents, and the continuation of the 2022 conversion project,” JPS customer care manager for Clarendon Kareen Jackson told the monthly meeting of the CMC.
She, however, noted that every effort is being made to improve the situation as soon as possible.
“Each parish should benefit from work done and improvements every month. For the parish of Clarendon, a total of 134 new installations is required… Since the start of the year, 24 lights have been restored for the variation of 110. One hundred and six will be allocated to the subdivisions…,” Jackson said.
However, deputy mayor and councillor for the Frankfield Division Clive Mundle (Jamaica Labour Party) expressed frustration at the slow pace at which repairs are being done.
“I am tired of reporting street lights. I even reported to Ms Jackson. I have a street light at Morant at the church that I spoke to her about. It’s been out for almost one year now. Every day I see the pastor, the pastor asks me, ‘When is the street light going to be fixed?’ I just get fed up. I have reported them through the CEO’s office…. It’s like every month you have to report the same light and they are not coming to fix them. …We just get frustrated.”
Councillor Radcliffe McDonald (JLP, Toll Gate Division) was even more combative in his remarks.
“I keep reporting those lights from Berrydale, Ackee Tree Lane, and Osbourne Store… and Sunset Crescent, where they stole another light there. …I am starting to believe there’s a recycling going on, where you move it from here and put it there; because there is no way these people could be stealing these lights and all now they can’t catch up with one of them. There must be something going on that is not right,” he said.
He expressed concern that the lack of adequate lighting puts people at risk.
“I’m very upset about it because those areas are very dark, and in the nights, you know we have a lot of crimes going on right now. We really don’t want to have anything happen in the night time to the residents… So, look into it because it has been months now,” he appealed.
In her defence, Jackson noted that she always alerts the relevant JPS personnel and departments to complaints raised during monthly meetings.
“…All of the information is sent off to them. But I will ensure again… I cannot give a date when installations will be carried out. What I do, like I said, is disseminate the information to them,” she said.
Unappeased, councillors continued to voice their dissatisfaction for more than an hour, as youth councillors who were observing the sitting looked on.
Councillor Uphel Purcell (People’s National Party, York Town Division), also weighed in on the discussion.
“…We had in our midst the last time the vice-president of JPS, who came down and so brilliantly spoke to us… and said, ‘Come on, let’s give a time frame’. And he did say somewhere in November, if I am not mistaken. And we are yet to see any real resolution…We are up against JPS and their poor management quality, and the ineffectiveness of them to carry out their duties and responsibilities for the people of Clarendon. And I know for sure that we have a national problem with them also…,” he said.