‘Don’t allow criminals to destroy your street lights - McKenzie
Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie is urging residents of Westmoreland to protect their street lights, especially the new energy-saving lights, from criminals who would seek to destroy them to create a cover of darkness to carry out illegal activities.
"People complain about street lights not working, but there are many communities where all they do is shoot out and stone out the lights to hide their deeds," said McKenzie, who was addressing a town-hall meeting in Savanna-la-Mar, which was held to educate the residents on the importance of paying property taxes.
"You have to become protectors of this massive investment that the Government has made on your behalf," added McKenzie. "I am going to ask the councillors to ensure that when you go to your community meetings, you emphasise the importance of having streetlights. The parish is affected by high levels of crime, so it is everybody's business to ensure that they protect the lights when they are installed."
David Lewis, the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) operations manager for Westmoreland, said that efforts by the JPS to fix the parish's street lights were being hindered by a hefty street-light bill, which the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation owes the company.
"In terms of effectively fixing these lamps, we have an issue with funding as to date, the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation owes more than J$368 million to JPS," said Lewis. "Notwithstanding that, we will still work with the corporation to replace and repair the lamps that are out of service."
The JPS has installed more than 500 smart LED street lights across Westmoreland out of a planned 1,300 to be installed.
More than 20,000 energy-saving street lights have been installed across Jamaica since June through a partnership between the Government and the JPS.