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JET says gov't again blocked Goat Islands disclosure after court lifted exemption

Published:Wednesday | November 12, 2014 | 4:16 PM
A fishing boat approaches the Goat Islands on August 22, 2013 - File

The Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) is reporting that the Government again barred the public disclosure of information on the proposed transshipment port near Goat Islands, one day after a High Court quashed certificates prohibiting the release of the information on the project.



In a statement this morning, JET said on October 24, the Transport and Works Minister, Dr. Omar Davies, issued a Certificate of Exemption for the release of information to the public.



This was one day after the Supreme Court ordered, that previous certificates issued by the Finance Minister should be quashed as they had been issued by the wrong Minister.



WATCH: The search for Goat Islands




JET says the new certificate claimed that the information has been exempt from disclosure because the premature release of the information could have a substantially adverse effect on the Jamaican economy, or the Government’s ability to manage the economy.



JET's Legal Director, Danielle Andrade says the lobby group is astonished by what it says is the lengths the government is going to to avoid releasing information on the Goat Islands project.



JET is contending that the Access to Information Act through which it requested the information on the project is being breached.



China Harbour Engineering Company is proposing to construct a US$1.5-billion trans-shipment port and industrial and commercial zone, which would include Goat Islands and nearby lands in the Old Harbour Bay area.



Recent studies have revealed that the Goat Islands located in an environmentally sensitive area may not be the best location for the project.



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