Didn’t it warm the cockles of your hearts to see how swiftly all MPs leapt to the defence of electricity thieves everywhere?

In a show of unified constituency representation of a quality not seen since Dudus’ resided here, MPs queued up to hold hands and rail at JPS for daring to defend both its corporate bottom line and all stressed-out Jamaican electricity consumers by restricting supplies to garrison constituencies where electricity theft is more popular than ballot box stuffing. With eyes closed, one could almost hear strains of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” as a soundtrack to the extraordinary show of parliamentary accord and Christian censure.

“How dare JPS punish law abiding citizens who pay for light?” was the gist of fire and brimstone denouncements from both sides of the aisle. Nobody mentioned that law-abiding citizens all over Jamaica who pay for light have been punished for decades by abnormally high light bills rendered to compensate for those unrestrained criminals in political garrisons who use stolen electricity as a routine entitlement. Nobody mentioned that electricity isn’t “stolen” from JPS headquarters but by piggy-backing on those with legal connections who sit silently by or actively co-operate in their neighbours’ illegality. Spiderman would be proud of the cobwebs of illegal wires built in plain sight in some of these neighbourhoods.

Then O.U.R. speedily contributed to the Holy Crusade and, before you could say “EWI” three times, issued a Cease and Desist Order against JPS. Will JPS file an appeal against that Order to the Enterprise Team who, based on recent announcements, clearly supersedes both O.U.R. and Minister? In the meantime, I can’t get my MP to protect me against the creeping commercialization of my neighbourhood. My family resides in, traditionally, the Corporate Area’s most sacrosanct residential district. These days, my previously slim chance of marital bliss has disappeared as customers of the neighbourhood Mall and construction workers peer into our bedroom daily; supermarket owners are shot and robbed in broad daylight right across the road; and adjacent disco and bar discharge unbearable noise into wee hours of the morning. Not a single parliamentarian has turned a hair.

At least God doesn’t sleep. In the midst of parliamentarians’ casting of spells against JPS (led by my MP) Parliament experienced a sudden power cut. MPs sweltered as, for the first time at last, a third party was responsible for more hot air in Gordon House than them. All I can say to the brave Kelly Tomblin is “You Go Girl!” Even homicide is justified if in self defence and if sufficiently provoked.

Which brings me to the EWI scandal. Jamaicans still appear confused regarding the law affecting the announced “solution” to the brouhaha. Get this: neither Minister nor O.U.R. has been “removed” from the process. That’s legally impossible. O.U.R. has exclusive jurisdiction over procurement procedures for the generation, transmission, distribution or supply of electricity. The Minister, specifically excluded from the procurement process by O.U.R. Act (OURA) has neither legal nor moral basis to interfere with the terms of any recommended licence. He knows not O.U.R.’s reasons for crafting these terms based exclusively on O.U.R.’s due diligence. Accordingly, he can’t rely on his political considerations, unrelated to the due diligence process, to amend the licence.

His sole discretion is whether or not to “issue” the licence.

For best governance, these separate roles and functions (O.U.R. conducts due diligence; Minister to issue or refuse to issue Licence) have been expressly delegated to the Minister and O.U.R. by Parliament. Were it not so, Ministers could run rampage over the due diligence process and grant licences willy nilly on terms favourable only to licensees. Jamaica’s Constitution impliedly incorporates many unwritten conventions with the force of law including the principle “Delegatus non potest Delegare” which means “that which is delegated cannot be sub-delegated”. So, even if the Minister and O.U.R. wanted to assign their OURA duties, they can’t.

What’s been effectively announced is that both O.U.R. and Paulwell are to act as what horse racing insiders call “sign-for trainers”. Jamaicans have no legal nexus to this “Enterprise Team” therefore can’t hold it accountable for anything. Are O.U.R./Minister planning to support this charade by presenting the Team’s final product as theirs? Or, has the Minister taken refuge in shadows the better to influence the “Enterprise Team” to the desired result?
This sham must end. The PSOJ must NOT legitimize it by nominating Enterprise Team members. The Minister’s time is up. He must pack his bags and go!

Peace and Love


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