Maverley residents plead for electricity after drive-by shooting

March 29, 2022
A section of Maverley in which some residents say they have not had electricity for months.
A section of Maverley in which some residents say they have not had electricity for months.

Residents in Maverley, St Andrew, are renewing a year-long call for power to be restored to several streetlights following last Thursday's deadly drive-by shooting on West Main Drive.

Six people were shot, three fatally, during the incident which occurred around 8:30 p.m., prompting a subsequent shootout and a high-speed chase between police and the gunmen.

The gun attack and the ease in which it unfolded has left several residents cowering in fear. They have blamed the Jamaica Public Service (JPS), for the darkness which has covered their community which is also plagued by violence.

"From last year di people dem cut off di light say wi a thief light. But yuh know how much people ready up fi dem come gi wi di light and all now dem cyah reach fi connect dem? The light is there but dem disconnect it... mi no feel safe. Yuh see how di road dead and a just afternoon dis? People cyah live inna fear dem way deh," said a resident.

"If light did deh deh dem wouldn't get shot because at least dem would a see the car a come and run. Maybe somebody could a see a who but di place so dark. Bwoy it sad. Young people nuh have no future inna certain places," said another resident. A 48-hour curfew was imposed in sections of the St Andrew South Police Division last Friday, including the area in Maverley where the six people were shot. The curfew has since been extended to today at 6 p.m.

However, Jane*, while welcoming the curfew, says she is contemplating temporarily closing her business due to a lack of sales stemming from the lack of electricity.

"By 5 o'clock mi affi close and people no come out a day time. So yuh mek yuh likkle juggling inna di evening and night time but nobody nah go come dung yah so inna darkness. Yuh cyah even mek a dollar," she says.

Another resident argued that the darkness, which engulfs sections of West Main Drive, Reapers Road and Elma Crescent, can also be a danger for children who are travelling home from school in the evenings.

"Pickney affi walk pon di streets and war a gwan, dem cyah safe. Yuh no see say a pickney dem a tek weh? From wah day mi a say mi feel like wi need fi block di road," she said.

When contacted for a comment on the matter, JPS's media and public relations manager, Audrey Williams, said that the situation is a result of widespread practice of electricity theft across the community.

"JPS has not disconnected any streetlight in Maverley. The community has a high level of electricity theft, which has posed a serious problem, the constant overloading and damaging of streetlights. JPS has been at pains to tell residents to desist from stealing from the streetlights and has been to the community on numerous occasions to get the lamps working again. The illegal connections are hampering the working of the lamps," she said.

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