JIS News

Co-ordinator of the Institute for Sustainable Development at the University of the West Indies(UWI), Franklin McDonald, has said there is a need for more parishes to develop plans, in order to achieve sustainable prosperity.
He was speaking at the St. Thomas Environmental Protection Association Benevolent Society’s (STEPA) 2nd Wetlands and Coastal Areas Stakeholders Conference, held yesterday (Sept. 24), at the Anglican Church Hall in Morant Bay, St Thomas, under the theme, ‘The Man, the Land and the Plan.’
“I want to urge that more of the parishes look at how these plans have been developed, how they deal with important issues such as public safety, where it is safe to build and not to build, important issues of livelihood, what type of crops are going to be more successful and how they can be done,” Mr. McDonald said. He stated that the parish of Manchester had completed its sustainable plan, while an effort to develop a plan for Portland was abandoned due to several challenges.
Mr. McDonald said the parish plan should include the stewardship, hazards and care of natural resources. It should also include community members who will work together in protecting the resources, he said.
According to Mr. McDonald, environmental protection should not be seen as a separate component from the development of the parish, but an “important component to build a resilient set of parish activities.” He added that a combination of livelihood and protection of the environment should be included in the plan with the aim of achieving sustained prosperity.
“St. Thomas people are resilient. There is a lot of experience here and we need to make sure that the development model that we try here is based on that experience that is built around sustainability core and that it takes into account all of the good that we have information on,” he added.
Mr. McDonald said that there were some coastal livelihoods that could be explored and marketed by the parish.
Referring to oyster cultivation, an agricultural experiment, which had started some years ago in the Bowden /Port Morant area in the parish, Mr. McDonald pointed out that employment could be generated from the sea. Additionally, he revealed that fishermen in the Bull Bay community were once trained in the collection of Irish moss.
“Those are important starting points to see how alternate livelihood could be generated from the sea.we need to find things which are particularly Jamaican and things which we can market through the niches we can take advantage of,” he added.