Gov't scraps plans to construct controversial Negril breakwater structures
Livern Barrett, Senior Gleaner Writer
The Government has scrapped plans to construct controversial breakwater structures off the coast of Negril, Westmoreland, to protect the shoreline.
The previous People’s National Party administration had insisted that the project to construct the two submerged breakwater structures would go ahead despite strong opposition from stakeholders.
The Gleaner has obtained a copy of a letter written to the Negril Chamber of Commerce by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) informing of the decision.
"The Planning Institute of Jamaica, as the national implementing entity to the Adaptation Fund, uses this medium to inform you that last month the Cabinet approved a recommendation for the termination of component 1 of the GOJ/AF programme and all related activities,” PIOJ director general Dr Wayne Henry said in a letter to Lee Issa, president of the chamber.
"This effective means that the proposed construction of two submerged breakwater structures, previously identified as part of activities to stem coastal erosion in the Long Bay area of Negril will not be pursued under this programme," Henry continued.
IN PHOTO: PIOJ director general Dr Wayne Henry
Mary Veira, a director of the Negril chamber, confirmed that the letter was received yesterday.
“We are absolutely thrilled because we didn’t think that breakwater was the correct way to combat beach erosion,” Veira The Gleaner.
In 2014, the National Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) gave approval for the construction of two offshore breakwaters in the Long Bay area of Negril at a cost of US$9.9 million or approximately J$1.14 billion.
At the time, the NRCA explained that the breakwater structures would form part of a beach management strategy to slow the pace of erosion of the Negril coastline by strengthening coastal protection.
However, the project has been the source of great contention among environmentalists, residents and the business community in Negril who argue that the breakwater system will damage the environment and affect tourism in the community.