Wed | Oct 18, 2017

Opposition wants Duncans Bay mining licence revoked

Published:Friday | July 14, 2017 | 10:14 AMJerome Reynolds
Duncans Bay residents have contended that Prime Minister Holness could not have observed due care in making the decision to allow the mining licence as they were not consulted.

The Opposition is calling for the immediate revocation of the mining license granted to Duncans Bay Development Company to mine sand from the Duncans Beach in Trelawny.

The company is operated by land developer and former Jamaica Labour Party representative, Keith Russell.

The application was rejected by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), but the company filed an appeal to Prime Minister Holness, who has ministerial responsibility for Environment, and he overturned the decision.

The Office of the Prime Minister has stated that the process was transparent and that protocol was followed to protect residents and the environment.

But, residents of Duncans Bay have contended that Prime Minister Holness could not have observed due care in making the decision, as they were not consulted.

READ: Duncan's Bay residents still livid despite OPM's defence of sand-mining approval

The Opposition contends that the Prime Minister’s decision is an abuse of political and ministerial powers.


IN PHOTO: Sophia Frazer Binns

Opposition Spokesperson on Environment, Senator Sophia Frazer Binns, argues that while the law allows an applicant to apply to the Minister it is the Ministry's first responsibility to see to the well-being of the public and to protect the environment.

Frazer Binns says the opposition is not convinced that there was due regard to protect residents and the environment.

 

In light of the situation, the Opposition is renewing its call for the separation of the planning and environment ministries.

Frazer Binns says the opposition also strongly recommends that the environment portfolio be removed from the Office of the Prime Minister to ensure transparency, objectivity and the removal of any possible conflict of interest.

 

Opposition Spokesperson on Environment, Senator Sophia Frazer Binns