Jamaica News: Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, says the Government is working closely with the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) to address the problem of streetlights in communities across Jamaica.
The Minister, who was speaking at a town hall meeting at the Montego Bay Cultural Centre in St. James on November 20, said the Government had taken note that street lighting is becoming a vexed issue in communities all over the island and has to be addressed expeditiously.
He said that in discussions with the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, the decision was taken to liquidate the debt with the JPS, while simultaneously getting the power company to come on board as a partner to address the streetlight issue.
The Government had settled the near six billion dollars in outstanding arrears to the power company.
Mr. McKenzie said for the first time since the JPS has been in private hands, the Government is up to date with its monthly light bill payment to the company.
The Minister further noted that the decision to engage the JPS on a personal level was a good one, adding that the power company has been living up to its commitments and has been doing yeoman service in communities throughout Jamaica.
“If I take the parish of St. James, there is now an estimated 12,000 streetlights,” he pointed out, adding that one of the agreements with the JPS is that the old antiquated lights must be replaced by LED energy-efficient lights.
“The first set of lights has been installed right here in Montego Bay,” Mr. McKenzie noted.
He said that of the 12,000 streetlights in the parish, the JPS has installed 10,200 brand-new ones, representing 85 per cent of the total.
He said that in the process, the JPS has also repaired 1,200 streetlights, while on target to complete the entire parish, “hopefully before the end of the calendar year”.
However, the Minister noted that in further discussions with the JPS, it has come to his attention that unscrupulous persons have been stealing some of the lights, making the job of the power company more difficult.
“I am urging people to call the police if they see any of this illicit activity taking place in their communities,” he said.
Source: JIS News