Gov't to pursue land reclamation as priority
The Andrew Holness administration is pledging to carry out an extensive programme of land reclamation.
Finance and the Public Service Minister Audley Shaw said on Tuesday that the Government had placed the issue as a top priority going forward.
His comments come against the background of complaints by some members of Parliament that mined-out lands in their constituencies have been neglected for years.
Committee chairman Pearnel Charles sought to add his concerns by charging that lands have been left in a deplorable state in his constituency for 25 years. However, the chairman's input did not escape controversial lawmaker Everald Warmington, who chided him for participating in the meeting.
"We cannot as a Government continue with this uneven development where mined-out areas are abandoned. We must find a programme to get them engaged in productive activity," Shaw declared during a sitting of Parliament's Standing Finance Committee.
Shaw argued that the mined-out lands should be sufficiently reclaimed so that farmers could use them for their livelihood.
"This is something that this Government is firmly committed to: land reclamation and irrigation," he stressed.
Shaw disclosed that the Government had secured US$60 million from the Caribbean Development Bank, matched by a grant from the British Government, to establish the Essex Valley irrigation system for farmers around ALPART in St Elizabeth.