Sat | Aug 19, 2017

Tree huggers stumbling block to progress

Published:Monday | August 8, 2016 | 8:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Environmental lobbyist Diana McCaulay and her trusted colleague, Peter Espeut, are doing what I called the 'stumbling block dance'. These people make it their mission to try to stop or block almost every major initiative to drive this country forward. And the media are just lapping up the jargon that is being put forward by these so-called environmentalists.

Let's take a trip down memory lane with these environmentalists. Remember the proposal to use the Goat Islands as the centre for the logistics hub? This project would have been a US$5-billion investment that would create at least 10,000 jobs.

McCaulay's Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) and company argued that that project would destroy our coral reefs, damage our coastal villages, wipe out the fish population, etc. Anyone remember the North-South Highway project? Again, JET and company argued that not enough geological studies were carried out on the soil content, and a highway of this magnitude could cause soil erosion, groundwater contamination, etc.

Now, the 1,000-megawatt coal-fired plant, to power Alpart, is their new target. This is a U$2-billion investment.

I bet they drive along this very highway they were so adamant against. One gets the feeling that these people care nothing about humans, and it is only the environment that matters.

The hypocrisy about this situation is that these are the same people who travel to North America, Western Europe and Asia and witness the symbiotic relationships between infrastructure, nature, and First-World amenities. Many developed societies use coal, nuclear, renewables and LNG in the energy mix to power their economies. The more diversified the mix, the cheaper the energy.

I strongly urge the Government to ignore these environmentalists and continue to pursue the path of economic development, as this will provide the necessary jobs and growth Jamaica so desperately needs. Because, if we don't get the growth, with this spiralling crime monster as it is, most of us won't live to enjoy the environment anyway.

PHILLIP HARRISON

Old Harbour Bay