The Goat Island controversy

Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Robert Pickersgill returned from China on Monday, the 26th day of August, 2013.

Whilst in China, the Minister caused much debate and controversy in Jamaica as he was quoted in both national newspapers as saying Goat Island was under serious consideration for the building of the Logistics Hub.

See related Observer article here – http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Gov-t-admits-Goat-Islands-under–serious-consideration–for-trans-shipment-hub_14922802

The Minister admitted to journalists then that the representatives of China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), one of the entities with which he met, ‘are attracted to Goat Island but there are some environmental prohibitions…’

The Minister was quoted in the Gleaner as saying Goat Island was the ‘preferred location’ by the Chinese investors. 

The frenzy created in Jamaica was because Jamaicans especially the environmentalists are fully aware that when the government engages investors particularly the Chinese, their preference takes precedence over all interests locally. Hence Diana McCaulay of the Jamaica Environment Trust, JET has already prepared her team for a legal showdown over Goat Island. 

Someone has to resuce the people from the government.

We have sought an interview from Minister Pickersgill who gave today, Wednesday, the 28th day of August as a better day for the interview as he was jet lagged yesterday. Follow up calls with his office yesterday resulted in my news centre being told that the Minister had not really committed to the interview.

He now sends a statement on Goat Island. 

STATEMENT BY HON ROBERT PICKERSGILL M.P.

MINISTER OF WATER, LAND , ENVIRONMENT

AND CLIMATE CHANGE

RE. THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT OF THE

LOGISTICS HUB ON THE GOAT ISLANDS

August 27, 2013

It has been brought to my attention that while I was off the island, there were a number of broadcasts and publications in the media with respect to the consideration of undertaking a development on the Goat Islands.

 The concerns have been specifically related to the protection and conservation of the environment, and to ensure that if development were to take place, it would be sustainable.  

 As Minister with responsibility for the Environment, I am seized with the fact as to how critical it is for a Small Island State such as ours, to be absolutely certain that we protect and conserve the environment.

 I wish the public to be advised that the Goat Islands fall under the St. Catherine Coast Development Order and the Town and Country Planning (Clarendon) Development Order.  It is also covered under the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) Act 1991, and several other policies, legislation  and regulations.

 Regardless of who is the proponent, whether the Government of Jamaica or a private investor that desires to carry out development, there is a universally established standard process, necessitating  objective analyses and assessments, which involve reviews by a number of Government of Jamaica regulatory agencies and the relevant Parish Council. Above all, there must be  public stakeholder consultations with the population that may be impacted, whether negatively  or positively, before a decision is taken.

 I have noted expressions of concern from environmental lobbyists and other stakeholders.  These concerns will be further taken into account during the public consultation process.

.Robert D. Pickersgill M.P.

More anon

 

 

 

 

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About emilyshields

Attorney-at-Law, Partner -Gifford Thompson & Shields; Broadcast Journalist; Host of RJR's Hotline - www.rjr94fm.com; Gunner Twitter- @emilymshields
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