JIS News

Executive Director for the Southern Trelawny Environmental Association (STEA), Hugh Dixon, has appealed to residents of Trelawny, to participate in efforts to protect the Cockpit Country.
He was speaking to JIS News after a planning workshop held recently at the Grand Lido Braco hotel in the parish, to invite and incorporate stakeholder participation in the Cockpit Country Parks-in-Peril (PiP) Conservation Action Plan.
As part of the plan, a Cockpit Country conservation strategy and monitoring framework has been drafted, while a parks-in-peril closeout strategy will be initiated and the formation of a Cockpit Country coalition will be explored.
The project, which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is being undertaken by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in collaboration with the Forestry Department.
It is being managed by an advisory committee, which comprises representatives from the Forestry Department, National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), TNC, and the Institute of Jamaica (IOJ).
According to Mr. Dixon, the key stakeholders in the process would be the maroon communities, STEA and the academic community, including the Windsor Research Centre, which constitutes the primary source of scientific information about the biodiversity and socioeconomic context of the Cockpit Country.
“What is really exciting for me is the fact that a diverse group of people can come together and come to some degree of consensus as to what needs to be done to strengthen the conservation of the Cockpit Country,” he said.
Ausburga Orwood, who participated in the workshop, told JIS News that she benefited “immensely” from the meeting and she would be going back to her community to relay valuable information to the residents.
“I am a resident of the Duansvale community in Trelawny and this makes me a part of the Cockpit environment. As part of the community group at the workshop, it is my duty to go back to my community and let the residents know how they can contribute to the conservation of the Cockpit Country,” she said, adding that residents must be educated about the importance of preserving the wild life.
Cockpit Country is located in west central Jamaica and is an important centre of the island’s natural cultural heritage, continuing plant and animals that are indigenous to Jamaica.