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Residents of Green Hill development say absence of streetlights is security risk

Residents of Green Hill development say absence of streetlights is security risk


A number of residents of the recently constructed Housing and Land Development Corporation (HLDC) housing development at Green Hill, more specifically Treasure Hill, say they are fed-up with the absence of street lights in their area.

According to one resident, this problem is causing fear among homeowners, as the area {{more}}is pitch black after hours, a setting that is attracting unsavoury characters.

“Homeowners have seen people in other homeowners’ porches and in their yards. We have a lot of young children and we can’t run the risk,” the homeowner said on Wednesday.

He said residents have gone to the HLDC and the St Vincent Electricity Services Ltd (VINLEC) on numerous occasions and each party keeps referring them to the other.

As a result of this run-around, the homeowner said he and his neighbours have got together and contracted a company to provide 10 solar powered street lamps at a cost EC$6,300, but so far they have only managed to raise EC$1,000, money sourced by Noel Jackson.

The resident stressed that he has been living in the area since March this year, but there are persons who have been living there since 2012 and have been continually complaining about the black-out in the area.

“It is very dark and apart from the house lights and the lights from the HLDC sheds, there is no way to see while walking at nights. Since 2012, persons have inquired several times and nothing has been done,” said the upset homeowner.

He noted that he is in the process of meeting with homeowners to raise the funds, as they are tired of asking VINLEC and the HLDC.

“HLDC is saying it’s not them and VINLEC saying it’s not them,” said the homeowner, who is of the opinion that the HLDC should have provided lights, as it is their housing project and VINLEC can assist, as every homeowner pays his/her electricity bill at the end of the month.

“We need to find the money. The whole area is dark. You can’t tell me everybody paying their bill and between VINLEC and HLDC cannot decide to put the streetlights,” complained the resident.”

He stressed that it is not a political issue, but a one of safety and homeowners are scared.

“We are forced to do something for our own security.”

In his response to the complaint, chief executive officer of VINLEC Thornley Myers said that the Government is the one that pays for the streetlights, but the country cannot afford to put street lights in every area.

He revealed that at this point in time, about 14,000 streetlights are needed to properly serve the country, but only 8,100 are installed, while there are close to 26,000 poles available.

“It is not a situation where because you move into a development you will automatically get one. It is a balancing act,” stressed Myers, who added that VINLEC has an assessment system and will from time to time install lights in areas that have been without them for a long time.

“We have a system where we say we will go into certain areas, based on how long they have been without lights and put lights. For example, there was an area that went without lights for 25 years and we had to put that in. We don’t have a queue for first come first serve, but we do assessment based on what the Government can afford. It is highly unfair that a person that went without 10 years is not given and a new development gets right away,” said the VINLEC CEO.

“If we were to put a streetlight everywhere, we would have close to 14,000 to make everybody happy, so there is a situation where the country has to balance the needs to what is affordable,” said Myers.

He said that over the years, persons have been encouraged to go in to VINLEC and fill out forms, so that the electricity generation and distribution company can make assessments. “…because where you might want is not where we would put. We will keep the assessment and make installations in keeping with the list and a person might get one in five or six months, but that is because somebody else may have made a report before.”

Myers, however, stressed that the process takes time and no one is entitled to a streetlight because they have just moved into an area. He noted that there are developments that have existed 10 to 15 years that are not lit by VINLEC’s street lamps.(LC)