Sun | Mar 18, 2018

Do the right thing, minister

Published:Friday | September 9, 2016 | 12:00 AM



This is an open letter to Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Dr Andrew Wheatley.

Dr Wheatley, do you have grandchildren and do you want those children to grow up in a healthy environment with lots of fresh air to breathe, seas that are not flooding, and food that is not tainted by chemicals?

Dr Wheatley, I was there at the recent launch ceremony for those 11 windmills erected by BMR Jamaica Wind Limited, Jamaica's largest privately funded renewable energy project in the Malvern Mountains. I was there when both Sir Richard Branson and United States Ambassador Luis Moreno both proclaimed how pleased they were to be associated with this clean-air project building electricity out of our cool Jamaican breeze. I was there to hear them both applaud the fact that we were moving away from the fossil fuel industry. And you spoke after. I wondered how you felt knowing that you had given your consent to China to come and put a coal-mining operation just miles away from where we were sitting, in Nain, St Elizabeth.

Dr Wheatley, I am appealing to you on behalf of all Jamaicans to shelf this horrific plan. Jamaica is a tiny island that has won world interest for our athletes, our singers, our pristine beaches, the beauty of a landscape like no other on the planet. We who are born here are blessed and reminded of this every day by the envious ones who come from harsher climes and polluted cities. Are you asking us to give this up; to start contributing to the eventual demise of the life we are enjoying? What do you see as the long-term benefits to be gained from promoting a system that knowingly adds to worldwide pollution? All intelligent people are focusing on this issue in a last desperate attempt to save our planet from the ills we have inflicted on her.

Dr Wheatley, the great Republic of China is boasting that they are cutting back on emissions, meanwhile imposing environmental issues in far-away places like our paradise homeland. So many voices have been raised against this atrocity.

We have not even begun to make proper use, via solar energy facilities, of our abundant sunshine, the same sunshine that tourists come here seeking. Several years ago I drove by miles of solar panels in Switzerland of all places, a country not particularly noted for sunshine.

As minister of science, energy and technology who the people of Jamaica have elected, let your name go down in history as one of the environmentally conscious stalwarts who gave their all, joining the worldwide effort to continue the regression of all things negatively affecting our atmosphere. Do what is necessary to positively aid clean air projects, thereby saving our planet.

Sally Henzell