JPS and the Ministry of National Security (MNS) on Friday (May 12) signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which provides the terms under which the two entities will partner on the development and implementation of strategies to address electricity theft, which is universally seen as a “starter crime.” The collaboration will include the sharing of personnel and information, joint technology usage and the development of policies and procedures pertaining to social intervention and community renewal programmes.
Speaking at the MOU signing event, the Minister of National Security, the Honourable Robert Montague, was enthusiastic about the synergy between JPS and the MNS. He agreed that the theft of electricity is a starter crime, and said the philosophy of the Ministry is to attack the problem at the very root. “We want persons to understand that the stealing of electricity is the first step on a slippery slope and, therefore, this partnership is primarily to educate, change the culture and ethos, and show communities the dangers if they continue along this path,” he explained.
The Minister said he is hopeful that the relationship between JPS and the MNS will exceed expectations, as both organizations work towards creating a better, safer and more prosperous Jamaica.
President & CEO of JPS, Kelly Tomblin, who also addressed the gathering, said she was excited about the partnership. She noted that the issue of electricity theft is widespread, and is the result of several factors, including: poverty, structural issues on customers’ premises, administrative challenges related to property ownership, and the normalization of electricity theft. “These problems call for us to be creative,” she said. ”It will take more than just JPS and the Ministry of National Security. It is going to take all of us to remove this scourge on brand Jamaica. We will only really permanently address this issue when there is robust partnerships between the public and private sectors,” Tomblin stressed.
The partnership between JPS & MNS is expected to expand, to include other utility companies and private sector businesses, with a view to enhancing public safety and national security.