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Appeals Court to hear application to send JPS-CURE fight to Privy Council

Published:Monday | March 2, 2015 | 9:35 AM

The Court of Appeal is this morning expected to hear arguments by a lobby group seeking permission to take its case against the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) to the Privy Council.

Citizens United to Reduce Electricity (CURE) signalled its intention to take the case to the Privy Council after the local Court of Appeal overturned a Supreme Court decision in January and ruled that the JPS licence is valid.

In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that the JPS all-island electric licence to transmit electricity was null and void, stating that a government minister does not have the power to grant a license upon terms that bar the possibility of any other person entering the market.

However, JPS appealed that ruling and won.

In its decision handed down in January, the Appeals Court said the Electric Lighting Act does not prevent the Energy Minister from granting an exclusive all-island licence.

And it concluded that the granting of an exclusive licence does not prevent the government minister from considering other applications for licences.

However, CURE's lead lawyer, Hugh Wildman is insisting that the Electric Lighting Act does not allow for the grant of a monopoly licence.

He says the case has to go all the way because of its public importance and what he calls an error of the Court of Appeal.

CURE’s application for conditional leave to appeal to Her Majesty in Council will be heard by three judges including Appeals Court president, Justice Seymour Panton.

Justice Panton was among the judges who ruled that the licence was valid.

The Office of Utilities Regulation has joined as a party in the application to go to the Privy Council. 

The JPS and the Attorney General are the defendants.