JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Government of Jamaica is working to address concerns raised by members of the Negril community in order to move ahead with the proposed Negril reef extension/breakwater project.
  • The project, which falls under the US$10 million funded Government of Jamaica Adaptation Fund Programme, was proposed to be completed in 2016.
  • However, Deputy Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Claire Bernard, told a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on April 2 that the objections raised by sections of the community have basically stalled the project.

The Government of Jamaica is working to address concerns raised by members of the Negril community in order to move ahead with the proposed Negril reef extension/breakwater project.

The project, which falls under the US$10 million funded Government of Jamaica Adaptation Fund Programme, was proposed to be completed in 2016.

However, Deputy Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Claire Bernard, told a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on April 2 that the objections raised by sections of the community have basically stalled the project.

“We have attempted to reach out to the community. We have, through various means, sought to advise and inform that the concerns raised by them have been, for the most part, addressed in the review process by the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) Board,” Ms. Bernard explained.

She said further assurances have been given to members of the community that other issues that could not be dealt with immediately will be addressed by conditions attached to the licence.

In the meantime, Director of the Environmental Management and Conservation Division at the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), Anthony McKenzie, said one of the major concerns expressed by interest groups in the Negril community was the proposed dredging of the mouth of the south Negril river.

He explained that the proposed dredging was to remove a sand berm at the mouth of the river; however, in the review process, a decision was taken to find an alternative process.

“The project has looked at an alternative site, so now there is no need to remove that berm at the mouth of the river for that purpose,” Mr. McKenzie said.

Meanwhile, Ms. Bernard added that the principal concern expressed by sections of the community was for the resources to be channelled to beach nourishment, instead of the proposed reef extension system.

However, she explained that research done by the technical agencies and supported by the sciences show that beach nourishment by itself is not a sustainable approach to the problem of beach erosion.

“One of the things that we as the national implementing entity, are tasked to do is to ensure that the resources committed to the Government of Jamaica by the Adaptation Fund are used in the most sustainable way, and in conversations that we have had with the Fund, they have indicated that beach nourishment by itself is not a sustainable option,” Ms. Bernard pointed out.

In addition, she said the project approved by the Adaptation Fund is not one that approves expenditure for beach nourishment. She further explained that approval was not guaranteed and would require a rigorous and lengthy process.

Ms. Bernard said these issues will likely result in the PIOJ seeking an extension to the project.

“We do have some challenges, we are not in a position to say when the project will end …We are still open to dialogue with the community and we are continuing to see how best we can arrive at a compromise or some definitive decision about where we go from here with the project,” Ms. Bernard told JIS News.