Theft of streetlights rampant on Palisadoes Road says JPS 

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The nation’s light and power company, the Jamaica Public Service (JPS), is bemoaning the rampant theft of streetlights and electrical infrastructure on the Palisadoes Road in Kingston.

According to JPS, the theft occurred from the Harbour View Roundabout to the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston. The company has been at pains to battle this behaviour by unscrupulous persons, a statement on Friday said.

So far, the company has spent over US$38,000 or almost J$6million to replace stolen streetlights along that road between January 2022 and August 2023. These stolen lamps, the JPS believes, are both offered for sale, as well as for personal use.

According to the power company’s Director for Transmission and Distribution Assets and Project Management, Orlando McKoy, “In June 2022 JPS rehabilitated the entire line section and replaced all stolen lights, transformers and other electrical fixtures.”

“Only six months later, in December 2022 JPS had to revisit and rehabilitate the section from the end of the boardwalk to the Norman Manley International Airport roundabout, because 13 of 17 street lights had been stolen. Eight months later, as at the end of August 2023, 16 of the 17 streetlights were again stolen,” said McKoy, as he stressed the severity of the problem being imposed on the public.

While the Palisadoes Road has been identified as a major area affected by theft, McKoy pointed out that streetlight theft is a major issue across the island, with lamps being removed by unscrupulous people for their personal benefit.

JPS said it has been working with the police, communities, as well as the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development with the hope of curbing and eventually eliminating the illegal removal of streetlights across the island, especially along major corridors.

However, the company is in the process of implementing a number of new measures to assist in curbing the theft of its streetlights and electrical facilities, and hopes these measures will lead to capturing the perpetrators.

The police, meanwhile, have been asked to provide support in the most troubled area – Palisadoes Road.

“This is a crime, and a part of the bigger crime problem we face in Jamaica. We need all major stakeholders, including the Ministry of National Security, to assist in stemming the illegal removal of streetlights across all communities. This severely compromises the quality of service we provide, and deprives the road users of the service they deserve. Additionally, it is not practical for any business to be constantly bombarded by pilferage and theft,” said McKoy.

“There is also the cost that comes from accidents along these roadways when the lights are stolen. We definitely cannot continue like this,” he lamented.

“We are therefore pursuing a collaborative approach with law enforcement, the municipalities, and relevant ministries of government,” McKoy continued.