Privy Council dismisses class action suit against JPS licence
Jamaica’s final court has dismissed the appeal of the class action suit brought against the government for granting an all-island exclusive licence to Jamaica Public Service Company Limited (JPS).
The United Kingdom-based Privy Council handed down its judgment on October 19 after hearing submissions in July.
Dennis Meadows and other interest groups went to the Privy Council to have it quash a Court of Appeal ruling made in 2015 that overturned a Supreme Court decision.
In 2011, Supreme Court judge Justice Bryan Sykes ruled that while the Energy Minister had the power to grant a licence for the whole of Jamaica, he had no power to grant an exclusive licence to JPS.
The licence was rendered null and void.
The matter went to the Court of Appeal where the court set aside the Supreme Court decision.
At the Privy Council, the appellants argued, among other things, that the Energy Minister does not have the power under the Electric Lighting Act 1890 to grant the JPS an executive all-island license.
They contended that the granting of such a licence is contrary to the policy of the 1890 Act as it created a monopoly rather than promoting competition.
They wanted the Privy Council to rule that the minister acted illegally and that JPS licence is invalid and null and void.
However, the final appellate court disagreed with the submissions and dismissed the appeal.
The court also ruled that subject to any submissions from the appellants, which should be filed within 14 days of the delivery of the judgment, the appellants should pay the costs of both respondents.
The JPS and the Attorney General are the respondents in the case.