Stephen Price, vice president and general manager of Flow Jamaica is welcoming the announcement made by Technology Minster Daryl Vaz to table legislation to address acts of theft and vandalism of telecommunications infrastructure.
Minister Vaz, on Wednesday (May 10) announced in his sectoral debate presentation, his ministry’s intent to table in Parliament this year, legislation seeking to increase the penalties and custodial sentences within all the legislation falling within their portfolio.
Specifically, amendments will be made to the Telecommunications Act, to strengthen the legislation to impose higher fines and custodial sentences for offences that may constitute acts of vandalism, to include trespass upon any telecommunications facility and meddling, interfering or tampering with or otherwise causing harm to the facility.
The news was applauded by Flow which staged a press conference late last year following the biggest customer-impacting act of theft in its long battle against theft and vandalism of its infrastructure.
“We have long advocated for these legislative changes and commend Minister Vaz and his team for getting us to this point. It is our hope that the process will be expedited and that we will see the swift implementation of the updated legislation before the end of the year.
“A grave injustice has been done to our citizens and businesses when one considers the personal and commercial impact as well as the amount of investment spent on replacing or repairing infrastructure instead of connecting more communities. Minister Vaz is a man of action and we are confident that he will get his done in short order,” said Price.
Flow experienced 695 acts of theft and vandalism last year with over 50 incidents already recorded since 2023.
The University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), the UWI Mona Campus and the Spanish Town Courthouse in St Catherine were among the entities recently impacted by telecoms theft and vandalism with Flow having to fork out over J$25 million dollars to restore services to customers.