As many citizens lament the danger of travelling at night due to poor lighting, the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) is clarifying that several inactive street lights in sections of the country are not under its jurisdiction.
JPS, responding yesterday afternoon (March 15) to public discourse following two news features from Television Jamaica (TVJ), indicated that most of the areas included in the report are managed through the state-owned National Works Agency (NWA).
“You’ve been asking, so here they are. The following lights are operated and maintained by the NWA,” the company tweeted.
The special report identified high-traffic areas in the Corporate Area and St James where street lights have remained dysfunctional for an extended period, leaving the affected roadways perilously dark for motorists and pedestrians alike.
TVJ also highlighted the concerns of citizens, who lamented the risks they face when commuting at night, with many criticisms lobbed at JPS for its perceived failure to keep the streetlights in working order.
Roads managed by NWA include:
- Elegant Corridor in St James (from the Montego Bay airport roundabout to Iberostar Hotel)
- Bogue Road, Montego Bay
- Dunrobin Avenue to Molynes Road intersection, St Andrew
- Liguanea to Lady Musgrave Road, St Andrew
- Michael Manley Boulevard, Kingston
- Washington Boulevard from the intersection with Molynes Road to Six Miles, St Andrew
- Papine to Liguanea, St Andrew
- Trafalgar Road, St Andrew
- Harbour View East environs and others, Kingston
It is the second run-in for JPS this past week, as the sole electrical provider and other utility companies recently drew the ire of Kingston Mayor Delroy Williams.
Williams, in a series of tweets on March 10, singled out the company for cutting down trees throughout Kingston.
He found the act particularly “disturbing” as it was seemingly not approved by the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC), which manages affairs within the capital at the local government level.
“The @ksamcorp is asking that all utility providers desist from engaging persons to chop down trees across the municipality. We have confirmed that several trees have been chopped down by @myJPSonline across the city and I must state that as mayor I find this very disturbing,” Williams wrote on Twitter last Friday.
“We have several climate challenges as a city that we have been working together with NGOs to address and the private sector must ensure that they play their role. Contractors engaged must never be allowed to do this again. I will be speaking with @matthewsamuda to see how best we can prevent this happening at both Local & Central govt level,” the mayor added.
In response, Winsome Callum, corporate communications director at JPS, told Nationwide News on Monday that the company is duty-bound to ensure it delivers uninterrupted power to customers. This goal, she continued, is compromised by constant tree overgrowth, which makes the grid susceptible to interruptions.
Callum maintained, however, that the “deleterious effects” of its vegetation management programme are kept at a minimum.
“For a few years now, we have on-staff an arborist, whose job is to ensure that the removal of trees [in] our vegetation management programme is done scientifically and doesn’t have a deleterious effect on the environment,” she said.
“We are definitely not into devastating the environment at all. In fact, we have been so meticulous in trying to maintain trees that we have partnered with the Forestry Department for many years to plant trees,” argued Callum.