Fri | Jun 25, 2021

Clarendon councillors raise concerns over closure of JPS offices

Published:Monday | April 12, 2021 | 12:11 AMCecelia Campbell-Livingston/Gleaner Writer
In this March 2020 photo a crowd is seen outside JPS office at Ruthven Road. There are growing concerns over the decision by JPS to close several offices across the island.
In this March 2020 photo a crowd is seen outside JPS office at Ruthven Road. There are growing concerns over the decision by JPS to close several offices across the island.

Councillor for the Toll Gate Division, Radcliffe McDonald, and Joel Williams for the Denbigh Division have added their voices against the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) regarding the closure of several offices across the island – in particular, the May Pen outlet located on Manchester Avenue. They were making their contributions last Thursday at the monthly sitting of the Clarendon Municipal Corporation

McDonald, who took umbrage with the fact that the office is no longer operational in the parish, called on Prime Minister Andrew Holness to take control by inviting JPS into a meeting advising them that they “can’t do everything that they want to do”.

McDonald, in criticising the company for “getting up and leaving May Pen” and leaving the people “hanging” in the process, said the JPS will not answer to councillors but will be more receptive to members of parliament, ministers and the Government.

Stating that negotiations are now out of the corporation’s and councillors’ hands, he urged the mayor (Winston Maragh) to get the Government involved.

TAKE A STAND

“I am calling on the government to take a stand and call in JPS and let them know that they cannot do as they like and we have to take a stand with what JPS is pulling off in this country here,” he said.

Williams stated that he feels strongly about the JPS taking the people of Clarendon, and ultimately the areas in Jamaica where they are closing for granted, said not much time was given in sensitising the people.

“Let me take May Pen for example, a lot of people in May Pen never knew that the office close and and they would have to go to Mandeville and to add insult to injury, they are now going to ask the people – those who are coming from the hills who will have to take two and four buses, to get into Mandeville,” he said.

app that the JPS is promoting is of no help

Williams also informed that the app that the JPS is promoting is of no help, as a number of persons have complained that they are trying to get through to it and are unsuccessful in doing business.

“I am using this opportunity to call on the six members of parliament in Clarendon to raise the issue. We are doing what we can at the local municipal level, but we don’t believe that we have enough support at this level or we will get the hearing with the JPS official,” he said in making the request for MPs to take up the matter in Parliament as the issue is wide.

Earlier in the year, Member of Parliament for Clarendon Central Mike Henry in a letter to The Gleaner referred to the move as a “retrograde step”.

The outlets that are closed are located in Sav-la-mar, Black River, May Pen, Portmore, Portland, St Mary and East Parade, Kingston.

The decision has reportedly been triggered by a paradigm shift in a year defined by the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen increased migration of consumer interaction to online platforms.