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Councillor raps JPS over broken streetlights after murder

Published:Saturday | September 10, 2022 | 12:09 AMOlivia Brown/Gleaner Writer
Slain security guard Kadian Thyme.
Slain security guard Kadian Thyme.

A Manchester councillor has suggested that had streetlights in his division been speedily repaired by the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS), gunmen would have possibly been deterred from killing a security guard at a gas station in Chudleigh on Tuesday.

The deceased has been identified as Kadian Thyme of Hanson Run district in Christiana, Manchester.

Reports from the Mandeville police are that about 6:30 p.m., men travelling on foot visited the petrol station with a bottle in hand, posing as customers.

They opened gunfire, hitting Thyme multiple times before stealing his firearm.

The men then assaulted a pump attendant and robbed him of an undetermined sum of cash before fleeing the scene.

The police were summoned and the injured men taken to hospital, where Thyme was pronounced dead and the other man treated.

During the monthly sitting of the Manchester Municipal Corporation on Thursday, Christiana Division Councillor Desmond Harrison blasted JPS for its tardiness in repairing the lights.

Referencing what has been said to be footage of the attack, Harrison said he was saddened by the incident.

“It is my view, after looking after what came on the phones, that those lights might have helped to deter what had taken place there. I am glad the JPSCo representatives are here, and they can explain the reason that after six weeks, these lights were not repaired,” he said.

Supply chain issues

Devon Willis, central operations manager at the JPS, blamed the delay on problems sourcing material.

“We were unable to repair those two streetlights and I should just communicate that we are still having challenges as it relates to our supply chain as it relates to our material to repair some of these streetlights. The timeline given is three to six months for some of the material to come in,” she said.

Willis said that the broken lights in the division were brought to his attention in June, and given the timeline for the delivery of material, the repairs should be completed over the next few weeks.

Harrison was not pleased with the response.

“The council has been paying for these lights that are out. If yuh can’t repair them, replace them! They are necessary. That’s why they’re out there,” he said.

Continued the councillor: “Say, you not going to get these [material] until Christmas, the area will still be out of lights until that time? What if by that time you don’t get the necessary parts to repair those lights? What will happen? Another murder? Another robbery?”

Craig Head Division Councillor Omar Miller then weighed in.

“If it takes two to three months for a major company as JPS to get parts, it’s something serious. Right now, if you want something from China or Japan, within a week or two, it is here. Why is it so difficult? Why is it taking so long for these parts to get into the country so people can get the service that they are paying for?”

For the months of July and August, some 17 streetlights across Manchester were repaired in areas such as Alligator Pond, Hatfield, and Hopeton Terrace, Willis noted.

“[It’s] not a lot of repairs, but we tried to see how best we could repair some of these streetlights with the bit of material that we got,” he told councillors.

olivia.brown@gleanerjm.com