Letter of the Day | Hope Pastures verdict a blow to the gut
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Hope Pastures residents, having won the two previous rulings against the Jamaica Public Service Company Limited (JPS), are disappointed in the judgment by the court in favour of the company.
The previous victories suggest to them that their arguments are sound and worthy of a second opinion through a review in the appeal court. The fact that owners paid JPS for the system and that the entire scheme, inclusive of the underground system, is enacted in the law are worthy of further discussion.
The underground system is safe, but was never maintained because the JPS cannot find the cables that it placed directly in the earth and will not spend the money to fix the problem that it created. The responsibility is solely that of the JPS and not of the residents.
Hope Pastures residents still celebrate the fact that their underground system was not touched by hurricanes, fires or explosions. They now experience the unsafe features of the overhead system.
Since installation, there have been about 10 explosions that have plunged houses into darkness for days with spoiled food and medicine. Two fires occurred, one destroying a house and the other leaving residents in the dark for about a week. Schoolchildren sitting examinations had to be relocated to other areas with electricity.
A burning overhead cable fell on the car of a resident while she was in it and millions of dollars of damage and losses occurred, without any apology or compensation to the residents from the company.
FORCED TO SIGN
Residents, including the sick who use electrically powered equipment, are being told to pay to reconnect to the overhead service and are being forced to sign indemnity forms before the connection is done, freeing the JPS from liability, because the system is not safe. There are still residents without power from about one month up to almost three years.
The present ruling makes the residents feel that this is what Hope Pastures residents deserve, so that is exactly why they say they will continue to fight and take this as far as the Privy Council, if necessary.
The only remaining original owner, who is almost 102 years old, stands with the group against JPS's actions because when she saw the overhead web of wires, she said, "Where did those wires come from? This is not what I paid the JPS for."
I live in a residential community served by underground cables, and I fear this will happen to us.
Resident, Sand Castles