The Jamaican government has cleared the more than J$7- billion owed to the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) for street lights. Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Desmond Mckenzie, says the street light debt dates back several years.
He said that J$4.5 billion was paid to the light and power company over a two-month period to reduce the debt significantly, as the arrears stood in the way of residents getting defective streets lights repaired and new ones installed.
Mckenzie said that the government “then had to find on a monthly basis, J$300 million to pay to the [JPS] for street light and when we fail to pay that J$300 million, it attracts interest.
“So… after discussions with Minister of Finance and Public Service, Dr. Nigel Clarke we went to Cabinet [and] Cabinet supported the recommendations that were made. We have now paid off the entire debt. So, come the end of the financial year, we will not owe the JPS one cent.”
McKenzie said that the JPS has since committed to repairing the country’s 12,000 malfunctioning streetlights by the end of the 2018/2019 financial year.