LETTER OF THE DAY - JPS's unfair 'taxation' must stop
The Editor, Sir:
I write to bring to your attention and that of the Government and its majority shareholders of the Jamaica Public Service (JPS), the level of bureaucracy and political gimmickry that have been used over the years to suppress legitimate customers of the electricity company.
It is a medium of overtaxing that is meted out to customers of the JPS who, from time to time, are faced with huge electricity bills. For too long, some persons have been bearing this enormous burden, having to pay for electricity, which is being consumed by unscrupulous persons. It is in my view, a lack of political will to have the problem solved why it continues to mushroom throughout the island.
It is in this vein that I urge the Government and the leader of the Opposition to assist in cleaning up this mess. Every so often, our politicians visit their constituencies, which includes West Kingston, for which the prime minister is the member of parliament, and Majesty Gardens, commonly called 'Back-To', which is represented by the leader of the Opposition, and they apparently turn a blind eye to the slackness that stares them in the face, all in the name of votes. Nobody wants to bell the cat.
It is unfair for some persons to be asked, or rather made, to pay while others exploit the service and pay nothing. Note carefully, those who don't pay have all the electronics in the world in the comfort of their homes, including air-conditioning units, washers and dryers. These they utilise 'right around the clock', and who pays? Who cares?
The utility company then complains of millions of dollars in losses, but what do they do? They increase the calculated rate on our bills in order to recover these losses.
Our political affiliates and the JPS, the cry of the legitimate customers, cannot be louder. I, therefore, urge of you all to act with some amount of expedience in tackling this monstrous problem of the theft of electricity with a view to encouraging nation building, where equality and equity can be felt.
Suggested solutions to Problem
The JPS should consider doing the following:
Use all available medium to launch a two-week public-education awareness drive in the areas of concern across the island, advising persons how to become legitimate customers of the JPS and highlighting the consequences of the theft of electricity after this period has expired.
Grant a further two weeks to allow for full compliance and warn of total shutdown of electricity in the areas of concern.
Advise the persons in the communities of concern of the restoration process which you (JPS) could conduct on a phased basis in accordance with compliance.
Offer to these communities a flat rate in the region of $1,000 per family (household).
Dialogue with the hierarchy of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Jamaica Defence Force with a view to having strategically planned operations carried out in the different communities to effectively prosecute and bring to justice persons determined to be stealing electricity.
If each of these families is made to pay a flat rate of $1,000, in a community of 300 families, the JPS would have an additional revenue of $300,000.
The unfair game must cease.
I am, etc.,
CONCERNED FOR TOO LONG