Cessation Order lifted on developer relocating sand to St Ann hotel
Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Minister Robert Pickersgill yesterday withdrew a cessation order his ministry previously imposed on Yabyanas Limited, an affiliate of Karisma, which prevented the company from transporting sand from a property it owns in Negril, Westmoreland, to Llandovery in St Ann.
In a statement to the media late yesterday evening, Pickersgill said that after a careful review of the issues and circumstances surrounding the controversial issue, he has decided that the licence issued by his colleague Minister of Science Technology Energy and Mining, Phillip Paulwell, on the recommendation of the Commissioner of the Mines and Geology Division is valid.
The sand being relocated from Negril is what the developers described as carbonaceous material relocated to a property in Llandovery, St Ann, for the construction of a 4,800-room hotel.
Pickersgill has decided to restrict the use of the portion of carbonate sand allocated to the St Ann site solely to support the development and nourishment of the hotels beaches. He noted that sale of the sand is prohibited. "I also note the considerable and the substantial value of the project to the Jamaican economy, which outweighs all other consideration," the minister pointed out.
The Negril Chamber of Commerce and environmental groups had raised serious concerns about the relocation of the sand, charging that sand was being mined illegally.
The developers of Karisma's multibillion-dollar hotel project had indicated that the claims of illegal sand mining was mischievous, noting that it had received a quarrying licence to transport sand from one of its properties being developed.
Yesterday, Pickersgill said there was a clear misunderstanding of the National Environment and Planning Agency's (NEPA) "no objection" which is normally associated with an environmental permit.
In that regard, the minister said he would allow the developer to transfer the sand stockpiled at the site to the proposed development site in St Ann, in accordance with the licence granted.