Monday, July 17, 2006
Chaos reigned in Jamaica last Saturday when a power outtage plunged the island into total darkness. Under pressure from energy minister Phillip Paulwell to explain the exact cause of such a disturbing occurrence, Winsome Callum head of corporate communications at the Jamaica Public Service Company Ltd (JPS) claimed that the island wide blackout was the result of a system shutdown. Callum could not however explain the cause of the system failure which caused the shut down in the first place or where the technical glitches were.Relations between the electricity utility and government are tense at the moment, following a surprise announcement that Mirant, an Atlanta-based energy firm was selling its majority stake in JPS and other overseas operations in the Caribbean and the Philippines, to boost its share price at home in the US. Mirant had bought 80 per cent of JPS in March 2001 after government had unsuccessfully tried to privatise the utility for several years.