Jamaicans are being urged to participate in the upcoming consultations on the Environmental Regulatory Authority (ERA), being set up by government to deal with environmental, social and economical issues that will contribute to sustainable development and national growth.
The consultations are being held to hear the comments and get feedback from the wider public on the ERA's Green Paper, which was developed by a steering committee established by the Cabinet Office.
Public meetings are scheduled to take place in Mandeville, Montego Bay and Kingston in October. Consultations will also take place at non-governmental organisations and at public sector entities, including the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) and the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change.
Speaking at a Jamaica Information Service Think Tank held on Tuesday (Sept. 26) at the agency's head office in Kingston, Chairman of the ERA's Steering Committee, Rev. Dr. Garnet Brown, said it is important to get the input of all stakeholders.
"Ever so often, before any new Act is promulgated, efforts are made to get the relevant stakeholders to participate. When the stakeholders do not participate at the onset and then the Acts are promulgated, then the stakeholders may well find that they are at the losing end of the battle," he said.
Noting that the consultations are part of the democratic process, he said that persons, by their inaction, sometimes deny themselves their democratic rights. "Inaction very often deprives society of its democracy," he added.
Rev. Dr. Brown appealed to citizens to participate in the meetings so as to ensure that what is put forward in the Green Paper is representative of their desires.
Persons interested in reading the ERA's Green Paper can visit the JIS' website at www.jis.gov.jm