Tue | Dec 12, 2017

WataLand convicted for environmental breach

Published:Wednesday | August 16, 2017 | 12:00 AM
The WataLand attraction on the border of St Ann and St Mary.

The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) is urging business operators to comply with the country's planning and environmental laws to avoid facing legal action.

The agency is issuing the reminder after securing the conviction of Dancorp Limited, operators of the WataLand attraction in St Mary, for breaching the Natural Resources Conservation Authority Act (NRCA).

Last week Thursday, Dancorp Limited pleaded guilty to operating an eco-tourism facility without an environmental permit in the St Mary Parish Court. Dancorp was fined $20,000 by Court Judge, Yvette Miller.

The conclusion of the court hearing came almost two years after the charges were brought against Dancorp by NEPA for breaches under section 9 of the NRCA Act on November 12, 2015.

Persons who contravene Section 9 of the NRCA Act and are found guilty may be fined up to $50,000 or sentenced to a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years or to both fine and imprisonment.

Director of NEPA's Legal Services Division, Morjorn Wallock, said the agency is taking a zero-tolerance approach towards breaches.

"The agency recently completed a compliance audit. It revealed that a number of operators were conducting activities without the required environmental permits and beach licences. The Legal and Enforcement arm of the agency has commenced a process that will ultimately result in most of these operators being brought before the court," Wallock said.

She advised that business persons who are unsure of the permits and licences required under law for their operations should contact NEPA for assistance as the agency would rather have compliance than resort to legal action.