Tue | Apr 13, 2021

Reconsider closure of JPS Portmore office

Published:Saturday | March 6, 2021 | 12:10 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

It is unfortunate that JPS has decided to close their office in Portmore. Not all decisions should be made in terms of dollars and cents. The hardship to thousands of residents (including the elderly) without Internet access or the know-how to operate your Internet service platforms, who will now be forced to travel to the Spanish Town office, is unthinkable.

I have noted in a JPS media release dated March 4, 2021, that they met with some stakeholders. It may have been useful to have invited and/or advised other stakeholders, as decisions such as this impact thousands of residents across Portmore.

While the global move to more technology-based platforms is inevitable, a phased approach would have been recommended. This would have secured the buy-in of more residents, even among the 2,500 who they mention still use their walk-in facilities.

One would also have thought that given the surge in COVID-19 cases nationally, and more cases in parishes such as St Catherine, that the decision could have been delayed a few months, or until next year, to ease crowding at the Spanish Town office.

This period could have given customers, unfamiliar with the online platforms, time to familiarise themselves with the operating systems. It would also have given JPS time to show the full use and capacity of its mobile units, while developing customer confidence in the frequency and functionality of a workable timetable for the mobile units across the several communities.

On behalf of the residents of St Catherine East Central, and my entire Portmore family, it is my hope that JPS will reconsider the decision to close its Portmore office. At the very least, that JPS consider the proposals I have recommended, which are made after having consultations with residents.

ALANDO TERRELONGE

Attorney-at-Law

Member of Parliament, St C atherine East Central

Minister of State, Ministry of Culture Gender Entertainment and Sport