Jamaica News: Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, is imploring citizens to alert the authorities if the street lights in their communities are being removed.
“The lights are installed for your benefit, to protect you, and in some places, persons are removing the lights. What they do is drive [into the communities] in trucks, and when they are questioned, they say the street light is not working, so they have to fix it,” Mr. McKenzie said.
He was addressing a Local Government town hall meeting, held at the Trelawny Municipal Corporation in Falmouth on December 12.
“I am told that when the lights go out, they do not need to be taken down to be fixed. So, anytime you see anybody removing the lights, take down the licence number [of their vehicle], and call the police, because it is a thief that is robbing you of light that your tax dollars have paid for,” the Minister emphasised.
He further told the residents that the lights were installed for “your safety, for your benefit and for your comfort, and I am urging you, when you find that (theft) is happening, report it to somebody, so that we can take the necessary actions against those persons”.
“It is important that we protect your investment. When the lights go out, there are numbers that you can call, or report it to your Councillors and your pastors,” Mr. McKenzie advised.
Meanwhile, the Minister commended the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) for increasing the number of street lights.
“I know there are still challenges with the JPS, but I can tell you that over the last two years, we have seen significant improvement in the work of the JPS as it relates to the repairs and installation of new street lights,” Mr. McKenzie said.
The Minister argued that while more street lights are needed in the parish of Trelawny, “there is significant improvement [compared to] how it was before”.
Mr. McKenzie also underscored the commitment of the Government to “honour our obligations to the JPS on a monthly basis, so we do not run into arrears for street lights”.
The town hall meeting was held to discuss street lighting, disaster preparedness and challenges affecting the parish.
For his part, Mayor of Falmouth, Councillor Colin Gager, noted that all stakeholders must “work together to have the parish and the island the way you would want it. It is a not a one-man, one-group or one-agency thing; it should be a collaborative effort”.
Agencies represented at the meeting were the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), the Social Development Commission (SDC) and Western Parks and Markets (WPM) Waste Management Limited.