Mon | Dec 5, 2016

If not chik-V or dengue, what?

Published:Friday | October 31, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Cockpit Country worth more alive than dead

THE EDITOR, Sir:

It is interesting to read The Jamaica Bauxite Institute's (JBI) estimates of the size and value of bauxite reserves in Cockpit Country ('Bauxite price tag put on Cockpit Country', Gleaner, October 24, 2014). However, these 'values' (all based on US$30 per tonne) overestimate the real value to Jamaica by a factor of about four!

US$30 is the gross amount received, before expenses, such as capital equipment and fuel, are paid. Out of that $30, Jamaica only keeps about a quarter. For example, in 2011, only $7.62 per tonne of bauxite was retained by Jamaica. This is broken down as: royalties - $0.26; income tax - $0.08; bauxite levy - $1.63; local wages - $2.44; other local costs - $3.21 (all figures derived from government websites and quoted in US$).

So the value of bauxite in Cockpit Country to Jamaica is 300,000 tonnes x US$7.62, or US$2.3 billion.

The value of bauxite can be compared to the value that Jamaicans place on Cockpit Country. A recent study by Jamaican economist Dr Peter Edwards (Ecosystem service valuation of Cockpit Country, December 2011) estimated the non-market value of Cockpit Country to be between US$29.8 million and $47.8 million per year, while the market-based, carbon sequestration value was estimated at US$10.4 million per year.

These values accrue every year, and Cockpit Country will, hopefully, exist forever. However, we need to discount the future values to reflect our human preference for having things now.

Using a generally accepted, long-term discount rate of 1.4% for a period of 100 years:

n The net present value of the non-market benefits of Cockpit Country is between US$1.6 billion and US$2.6 billion.

n The net present value of carbon sequestration is US$0.56 billion.

And it is important to note that there are other market-based values such as water, forest and pollination that have not yet been valued for the Cockpit Country, as well as potential medicines and genetic resources that we cannot even quantify yet.

Keeping the Cockpit Country alive will mean it continues to supply all these services free of cost to all Jamaicans, not just now, but in the future.

Sources:

n http://www.mstem.gov.jm/sites/default/

files/documents/mining.pdf

n http://innercityrenewalja.com/lmis.aspx

?id=Average_wages,Average%20Wages

n http://www.ocg.gov.jm/website_files/

media_releases_issued/media182.pdf

All calculations are available by email from the author.

WINDSOR RESEARCH CENTRE

windsor@cwjamaica.com

Don't turn teens

into criminals

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I was also one of those who used to think that increasing the age of consent to 18 was a good thing, but, for some time now, I have had a change of heart. The proposed changes that I hear coming from the Children's Advocate for the increase in the age of consent doesn't sound coherent.

I fully agree with laws that criminalise adults having sex with children under the proposed new age of consent. I also fully support laws to criminalise adults who use pictures and other means to get sex from underage children. Indeed, I support any law that criminalises any inappropriate contact between underage children and adults. However, I don't support laws to criminalise these same contacts between consenting underage children.

While I suspect that most of us would not want our young people under the new proposed age of consent to engage in any sexual activity, we must understand that we live in the real world. The truth of the matter is that these children are having sex with each other. It is frightening that we should even consider sending children who have consenting sex with each other to prison.

The proposed alternative to those children who are caught engaged in such activities to avoid a criminal record, which includes a requirement for these young people to promise to be monogamous and faithful to each other and a host of other things, sound ways too complicated.

It's best to deal with this problem through education. Many of our schools already have programmes that are designed to discourage our underage teenagers from engaging in such activities. I think we should do all we can to strengthen such programmes, instead of imposing chastity-belt like programmes that won't work anyway.

MICHAEL A. DINGWALL

michael_a_dingwall@hotmail.com

If not chik-V or dengue, what?

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I would be grateful if the Ministry of Health could help me, and possibly, other readers understand what exactly is happening regarding tests for chikungunya.

The instances of labs sending back results that find neither dengue nor chikungunya infection seem astounding. What are all these Jamaicans experiencing?

Who regulates these labs anyway? How can we be sure that these tests results are accurate? And I ask these questions against the background of reports that Jamaica has only one laboratory certified to ISO standards.

EVERAL EDWARDS

everal.edwards1

Kingston 19