JAMAICA |“Cockpit Country Remains Under Threat” says Opposition

JAMAICA |“Cockpit Country Remains Under Threat” says Opposition

KINGSTON, Jamaica: The People’s National Party is disappointed with the announcement that the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) has granted a permit for the mining of lands that are part of the Cockpit Country in St Ann, via Special Mining Lease (SML) 173. 

Spokesperson on Land Environment and Mining, Senator Sophia Frazer-Binns points out that, “Although the permit is for a smaller parcel of land than requested, we believe the decision of the environmental regulator is counter to its mandate to protect and preserve Jamaica's environment, including the sensitive and important Cockpit Country.”

“The role that the Cockpit Country plays in Jamaica’s survival and our way of life must not be taken lightly,” says Senator Frazer-Binns. She believes that the Cockpit Country must be off-limits to the ravages and degradation that mining causes to the environment. The Senator says, “If the Cockpit Country is not preserved, the long-term consequences for Jamaica could be devastating.”

The Opposition remains firm on its position of no mining in the cockpit country. To support this Senator Frazer-Binns calls for urgent legislative protection of the Cockpit Country Protected Area as well as the establishment of buffer zones. 

Senator Frazer-Binns is also calling on the government to establish a multisectoral/multidisciplinary committee to commence in earnest, the exploration of alternatives to bauxite mining. She says, “The evidence is clear that both time and mining lands are running out.”  

The Opposition Senator is now appealing to the Prime Minister not to override the decision of the NRCA, in the event that Noranda chooses to appeal the decision of the NRCA. This would be a retrograde step and contrary to his oath to work in the best interest of Jamaica and her people. “Our very future depends on how we protect and preserve the environment and the Prime Minister must lead the charge,“ she says.

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