Tue | Jul 14, 2020

Hope Pastures on their own, says JPS attorney

Published:Wednesday | February 5, 2020 | 12:24 AMDanae Hyman/Gleaner Writer

Queen’s Counsel Patrick Foster yesterday urged the Court of Appeal to uphold the ruling against Hope Pastures residents’ claim that the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) was obligated to maintain an underground electricity network that has embroiled the suburban community in a years-long fight with the power provider.

Underground electricity was introduced into Hope Pastures in 1962 and was approved by Parliament, a privilege that was incorporated in the purchase price for homes there.

According to a Hope Housing Scheme document, the minister of housing and social welfare made a specific request of Housing Estates Limited, the certified developer, to include as a feature of the scheme an underground system for electrical and telephone services.

PRIVATE UNDERSTANDING

Foster argued that the underground system was born out of a private understanding between homebuyers and the developer and that it had no compulsory legal effect on the utility.

Further, the attorney said that the Housing Amendment Act did not state that JPS was obligated to provide underground electricity to Hope Pastures residents.

Citing Section 46A (2) (f) of the act, which addresses infrastructural support, Foster outlined that the particulars specifically referenced water supply, drainage, sewage disposal and such other matters of like nature, but did not identify electricity as a feature for consideration.

“It does not state it. If the drafters wanted it included, it would have been there,” Foster said.

The case is set to resume on February 18 when JPS will continue its arguments.

danae.hyman@gleanerjm.com