Shadow Ministers of Land and the Housing, Senator Sophia Fraser-Binns, and Dr. Fenton Ferguson, Shadow Minister of Environment are calling on the Prime Minister Andrew Holness to confirm whether he was aware that a member of his Cabinet was in the process of acquiring a 25 year lease to a parcel of land located in the Blue and John Crow Mountains protected area for a private single family dwelling.
They said the Opposition is appalled that such a brazen act of abuse of public trust could have been considered by a Minister with portfolio responsibility for the subject matter and the Prime Minister has remained silent.
The Shadow Ministers said it is particularly astonishing because the Blue and John Crow Mountains were declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site during the last Administration.
Dr. Ferguson said according to historical data, the mountain range in question encompasses one of the world’s most irreplaceable protected areas, based on its importance for amphibian, bird and mammal species.
The declaration by UNESCO brings with it certain benefits which must only be used for the development and benefit of all Jamaicans and not the privileged or politically connected, least of all, the Cabinet Minister with direct portfolio responsibility.
Senator Fraser-Binns said, this attempt to blindside the Jamaican people and cordon off public property for personal benefit, is the latest act in a series of corrupt and questionable undertakings by persons within the Andrew Holness-led administration. This highlights the continuing level of disregard of the public’s trust and abuse of authority.
“While news has emerged that the National Land Agency has since withdrawn from the deal, the Jamaican people must be told what considerations led to this offer in the first place. We are calling on the Prime Minister to state publicly his knowledge on the matter, and what specifically is being done to protect Blue and John Crow Mountain National Park from further unwarranted encroachment by his Cabinet or members of the wider public.” Sen Fraser-Binns said.
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