Mon | Dec 18, 2017

PSOJ presses Gov't on Cockpit Country boundaries decision

Published:Friday | November 3, 2017 | 12:00 AM
William Mahfood

Declaring that there can be no sustainable economic development without environmental protection, the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) has joined the chorus of calls from environmentalists for the Government to advise the country of its decision regarding the boundary definition for the protection of the Cockpit Country.

In a release yesterday, the PSOJ, through its Energy and Environment Committee, said it was concerned that the absence of a clear definition of the protected boundaries for the Cockpit area could leave the way open for future activities that could compromise the area and the country's future.

"The Cockpit Country area plays a critical role in sustaining Jamaica's water supply, and in light of the recent spate of very strong hurricanes, which, in our view, is directly linked to the effects of global warming and the resultant climate change, we believe that the protection of our environment is crucial in sustaining the economic and social development of our future," the private-sector body said.

William Mahfood, chairman of the energy and environment committee, said: "The Cockpit Country is a very important part of Jamaica's ecosystem and environmental sustainability. It is important for us to protect this very important area for the future of our children. The PSOJ is, therefore, supportive of a clearly defined protected area for the Cockpit Country being publicly declared by the Government and legally protected."

 

DELIBERATIONS CONTINUING

 

Yesterday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said that the Cabinet was continuing its deliberations on the boundaries of the Cockpit Country.

He said that in September, the Jamaica House Petition Portal gained support from more than 15,000 persons.

The Government had committed to provide a response within 30 days, but that deadline was not met.

According to the Office of the Prime Minister, "Given consultation with the environmental community as well as them advising of concerns regarding draft boundaries, the Government has set a revised timeline to give an official response."

The prime minister's office said that the timeline was necessary to ensure that the concerns of the various stakeholders were taken into consideration.

READ: Holness to address Cockpit Country petition