Advertisement
JIS News

Poverty is the greatest polluter of the environment and not industrialization or mining activities, as have often been identified by critics, said chairman of the Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI), Dr. Carlton Davis.
Citing a 2004 global report on the environment, which put Jamaica at 43 out of 100 countries assessed, he noted that this was “not a bad rating”, and an indication, in part, of the excellent work that the JBI and the bauxite industry have done in environmental management.
Dr. Davis, who is also Cabinet Secretary, was speaking at the JBI’s 30th anniversary awards luncheon held recently at the Knutsford Court Hotel.
Noting that, “the bauxite industry is the second largest earner of foreign exchange after tourism,” the JBI chairman informed that the industry had moved from a position where it earned US$300 million in foreign exchange in 1998, to more than US$900 million in 2005, with earnings of US$1 billion projected for this year.
In addition, the sector had moved from a recession in the 1980s to last year, recording the highest level of production since 1974, with more than 4 million tonnes of bauxite mined.
Meanwhile, he lauded the 30-year old Institute, for its contribution to the development of the bauxite industry.
The JBI was established up in 1976 to give technical advice to the government and to provide the knowledge and expertise needed for the development of the industry. The Institute provided crucial information to the government in the 1970s, which helped in negotiations with the then entirely foreign-owned bauxite companies.
Dr. Davis observed, that before the Institute was established, the country did not even know how much bauxite reserves it had, adding that early research by the JBI found that the information given about reserves was grossly inaccurate.
Dr. Davis, who has served the JBI since its inception, recalled the pioneering days of the institution and praised the staff for the exemplary dedication and service given over the years. He also praised successive ministers responsible for the industry for their “invaluable contribution”.
General Manager of the JBI, Parris Lyew-Ayee, who has also served the institution for 30 years, said the awards function was a celebration of “the vitality of the JBI”. He praised the early pioneers, the principal leaders in the organization as well as the partners in the public and private sectors.
He also acknowledged the significant help, which had been given by Development Minister, Dr. Paul Robertson, who has portfolio responsibility for bauxite.
Among the major commitments of the JBI, Mr. Lyew-Ayee said, were to continue the aggressive programme to protect the bauxite reserves; to take a progressive approach to the management of lands in the bauxite areas; to carry out intensive research and development work in the industry, particularly on the use of mined-out lands; and to comercialise the services of the institute for the local and international bauxite and minerals industry.
At the awards function, 10 persons received recognition for 30 years of service, one for 25 years, two for 20 years, and four persons for five years. In addition, 15 persons were recipients of performance and merit awards.