JIS News

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Karl Samuda, has urged persons involved in the theft of sand from a property in Trelawny, or anyone who saw anything, to come forward.
Speaking at a press briefing, at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices on July 17, Mr. Samuda lamented the defacing of the property which, he said, was to have been “a massive tourist industry development in Trelawny.”
He said the Ministry, through Jamaica Trade and Invest (JTI), was about to enter into discussions with investors for the construction of 36 six-star villas at the 64-acre property located at Coral Springs, just outside of Duncans, Trelawny, when the theft occurred.
“What was so impressive in this particular project, (was that) it brought together about 15 or 20 Jamaicans primarily, with a few overseas (investors), because it’s a big project. They came together, because not any one (person) had enough money to underwrite it and they acquired this property, virgin property. And quite frankly, when I saw the photographs that they sent me of what it looked like before they stole all the sand from the beach, it is unbelievably beautiful. I never even knew that we had a beach like that left in Jamaica,” Mr. Samuda said.
He added that the reported removal of 500 truck loads of the sand threatened the project’s realization and gave an indication of the level of organization involved in that illicit activity.
“Obviously those engaged in it would have to ensure that nobody would say anything, paying people not to say anything or threatening them. Again, yielding to the criminal elements without regard for what damage is being done to the country’s environment, and the opportunities that are available to our people as a result of this development. This is worse than (the theft of) scrap metal. If you lose a piece of equipment, rail, or manhole cover, you can replace it. You can’t replace that (sand) unless you go and draw it from somewhere (else),” the Minister said.
Noting that Prime Minister Bruce Golding has launched an investigation into the matter, Mr. Samuda appealed to persons with knowledge of unusually high volumes of sand being delivered, to come forward and advise the authorities, threatening to expose the culprits.
“I have no hesitation, and will never hesitate to expose the biggest and most powerful and wealthy investor who violates our laws, who threatens the livelihood of persons in this country, who denies people an opportunity to get employment on a sustained basis as a result of investments that are to be made in this country. I’m unapologetic as far as that is concerned,” the Minister warned.
Mr. Samuda underscored his Ministry’s responsibility to create a safe and secure investment environment, free from illicit activities such as the theft of sand from the country’s prime beaches.

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