The Prime Minister made his comments Parliament on Friday, in a discussion on the Environmental Protection and Management Bill 2019 gave rise to public criticism of the government's environmental practices.
“There is no way in which you can pursue any development that involves land without any impact...and that is why my Cabinet took the political decision to give an override so there could be some surgical removal of mangroves to create about two or three beaches. We are not apologizing about that,” Browne said.
Browne took the opportunity to address claims that the government is involved in “environmental genocide” saying a balance has to be created between economic development and environmental cost, making reference to YIDA’s projects.
However, he said, efforts are being made to mitigate the impact and make the cleared land greener in years to come, pointing out that YIDA’s undertaking will eventually produce over 100 thousand trees.
Meanwhile, Chairman of Archipelagoes Design Rick Solberg, – the company leading the architectural plans for the YIDA project – said a specialist who conducted surveys of the shorelines revealed that many of the mangrove plants around the project are unhealthy.
“We hired a consultant out of Jamaica and he flew in and basically did a physical survey and investigated the entire shoreline along the mainland [and] from that survey determined that the healthiest mangroves are in the areas which we are going to preserve,” Solberg said on the Prime Minister’s radio station over the weekend.
According to Solberg, other mangroves around the shorelines were also examined and the report concluded that they were not healthy. He said those are the mangroves that will be affected.
Solberg added that a 40- to 60-acre area is to be set aside for a nursery where the 100 thousand trees, which the Prime Minister spoke of in Parliament, will be nurtured.
The plan is to transplant these trees all over the YIDA project sites in order to make the land attractive.
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