Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Future of funds allocated for Negril breakwaters unclear

Published:Friday | July 22, 2016 | 7:00 AMPetre Williams-Raynor
Claire Bernard
Marcia Levaggi
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It is unclear what will become of the funds earmarked for the installation of breakwaters to arrest beach erosion in Negril, following a Cabinet decision to discontinue the work which was being done under the Jamaica Adaptation Fund (AF) project.

"We have officially advised [the AF Board] that we are seeking to explore the options with them. We don't know what will happen," said Claire Bernard, deputy director general of sustainable development and social planning at the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ).

The PIOJ is the designated national implementing entity for the Jamaica AF project.

Manager for the AF Secretariat Marcia Levaggi has concurred with Bernard.

"This is something we have to discuss with the PIOJ," she told The Gleaner yesterday.

However, Levaggi noted that the PIOJ does have the option of submitting a proposal modification for consideration by the AF board.

"When a change in a project proposal goes beyond 10 per cent of the project budget, the implementing entity can make a request for a material change, but the Board needs to review again," she said.

US$5.5 million of the $9.2 million allocated for the project was earmarked for component one, which was to increase the climate resilience of the Negril coastline.

The project has two other components - 'enhancing the climate resilience of the agricultural sector by improving water and land management' (US$2.5 million) and 'improving institutional and local level capacity for coastal and agricultural adaptation and awareness-raising for behaviour modification' (US$785,500).

ONGOING RESISTANCE

The Cabinet decision to discontinue the work came amid ongoing resistance from local hoteliers to the breakwaters and a report from the Office of the Public Defender, which sharply criticised the public consultation process for that component of the work.

"This was inevitable. We explored every option. The community withdrew from any possibility of mediation and so we could not have continued," Bernard said, referencing efforts made to have the issue mediated through the Dispute Resolution Foundation and to broker engagements with a team from the PIOJ.

Hoteliers, meanwhile, have labelled the development a victory for them, according to recent media reports.

Should Jamaica opt to exercise its option to submit a proposal modification, Levaggi said: "This will be reviewed by the Secretariat and we will make a recommendation to the project and programme review committee, which will discuss it and will submit it to the board for approval."

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