JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government is resolute in its commitment that there will be no mining in the area to be designated the Cockpit Country Protected Area.
  • Addressing residents and stakeholders, as well as a number of foreign diplomats, in Troy, Trelawny, on June 5, Mr. Holness emphasised that contrary to what has been heavily rumoured, there is no bauxite mining currently taking place in that area.
  • The Prime Minister said he is also confident that there is enough consensus to have legislation enacted in Parliament, so the Cockpit Country (Designated) Protected Area will officially be tabled into law.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government is resolute in its commitment that there will be no mining in the area to be designated the Cockpit Country Protected Area.

Addressing residents and stakeholders, as well as a number of foreign diplomats, in Troy, Trelawny, on June 5, Mr. Holness emphasised that contrary to what has been heavily rumoured, there is no bauxite mining currently taking place in that area.

The Prime Minister said he is also confident that there is enough consensus to have legislation enacted in Parliament, so the Cockpit Country (Designated) Protected Area will officially be tabled into law.

“I called all the agencies with regulatory and management responsibility for the Cockpit lands and who participated in the designation and demarcation of the area, and I asked each and every one of them to go back and use their resources to ascertain and to confirm to me whether or not there is any instance of mining in the area designated to be protected as the Cockpit Country,” he noted.

“All the agencies have come back to say that they know of no instance of mining in the areas designated to be protected as the Cockpit Country. The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) has released a statement in that regard… ; so too have the Water Resources Authority, the Jamaica Bauxite Institute, the Forestry Department and the Mines and Geology Division,” Mr. Holness added.

The Prime Minister said that while his first inclination at all times is to protect the environment, he is also cognisant that as the duly elected leader of the country, he must take all matters into consideration.

He said it is against this background that he is currently reviewing other matters that have been raised as they relate to residents and other stakeholders and the delicate balancing act between the protected areas and the commercial areas of the Cockpit Country.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (second left), places a permanent marker in the designated protected area of the Cockpit Country in Trelawny, on June 5. Looking on is Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz (left), while European Union Ambassador, Malgorzata Wasilewska (third left), and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Forestry Department, Marylin Headley, are assisting the Prime Minister.

 

“I had a visit from the Member of Parliament (Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert, Southern Trelawny), who raised many of the concerns that citizens, residents, farmers and environmentalists who are close to the situation within a particular section of the Cockpit Country would have,” Mr. Holness noted.

The Prime Minister said those matters are now under review, and at some later stage he will make further pronouncements on them.

“I have to ensure that the review is thorough and take into consideration all the scientific data and knowledge that exist and, of course, I have to pay attention to what the people want,” Mr. Holness said.

“It is never a simple issue… . It is a complex one where we have to spend time to ensure that we get it right. However, at the end of the day, we will be able to come up with a sustainable solution,” he added.