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Henry wants Gov't to charge utility companies to run cables

Published:Thursday | September 11, 2014 | 7:38 PM

Central Clarendon Member of Parliament Mike Henry wants the government to charge utility companies for each mile of cable they run along Jamaica's roadway.

The suggestion comes as the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing prepares a right of way policy, which is intended to govern the way in which utility companies place implements such as pipes, cables and poles along the public thoroughfares.

"Can I suggest that you extract the running of the cables along the road in its own economic entity and do not await the right of way, and treat it as the transference of data at a cost per mile?" Henry said.

"It is a cost income to the maintenance of roads," he insisted.

Dr Janice Dawkins from the Works Ministry said Jamaica is seeking funding from the Inter-American Development Bank to create the framework for the policy.

Government MP Fitz Jackson lamented the absence of a policy, and charged that even where there have been agreements in the past, utility companies such as the National Water Commission have made a habit of digging up roads and failing to have them repaired.

He also said the current situation needs to end where the Jamaica Public Service Company does not pay to have its poles located along the roadway but has to be compensated for their removal.

"We must see some urgency and don't let perfect be the enemy of the good. You are seeking to develop the place and every single year you are incurring a cost while the JPS continue to enjoy free right of way. That cannot continue to await the outcome of a policy development," Jackson said.

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