Land and Environment Ministry Holds Public Forum in St. James


The Ministry of Land and Environment took its public education series to St. James yesterday (Feb.17), where residents of the parish were informed about the Ministry’s mandate and the duties of the different agencies over which it has responsibility.
The meeting, held at the St. John’s Methodist Church Hall, was the second being held across the island, with the first one held in Kingston on February 16.”The Ministry recognizes and feels very strongly about the need to connect with the Jamaican public at all levels about what we do. We want to ensure that there is a genuine understanding of how our activities affect all our lives”, said Land and Environment Minister, Dean Peart.
He told JIS News that, “we felt that we should seek to expose the activities and functions of the Ministry, not only to Members of Parliament and Councillors, but to the whole Jamaica. They must all understand what we are doing and how we do this. This is the partnership we are seeking to establish as we put our hands out and say to the public, come with us because we are all on this journey to make this place a better place”.
He added that, “the private sector and the general public must come in and help us and work with us as the government alone cannot do it”.
According to the Minister, sustainable development dictated that plans for growth must be made in a way that preserved the natural and built environment and every activity the Ministry embarked on to create opportunities for the population, should be done in accordance with sound environmental practices that preserved the natural resources of the country.
Special presentations were made by heads of agencies such as the National Environment and Planning Agency, National Land Agency, the Earthquake Unit, Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, Mines and Geology Division, the Met Office and the National Spatial Data Management Division, followed by questions from the audience.
The Ministry of Land and Environment was established some five years ago as government placed increased focus on environmental preservation, while pursuing economic and social development.
Areas of responsibility include, the natural environment, land matters, mining and quarrying, climate and disaster management, spatial data management, sustainable development planning and regulation of the real estate sector.
The forum was followed by a national symposium at the Wexford Court Hotel in Montego Bay later that evening, to discuss climate change and its effects on coastal and marine resources.

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