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NEPA hosts meeting on Cockpit Country with municipal corporations

Published:Thursday | August 22, 2019 | 4:32 PM
From left: Carol Dalling, acting Chief Executive Officer, Trelawny Municipal Corporation, Mayor Winston Maragh, Clarendon Municipal Corporation, Nickala Thompson, Director, Planning & Development, Clarendon Municipal Corporation and Mayor, Colin Gager, Trelawny Municipal Corporation at a National Environment and Planning Agency meeting on the proposed Cockpit Country Protected Area on August 21, 2019 – Contributed photo.

The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) on Wednesday hosted a meeting with 14 representatives from six municipal corporations from Western and Central Jamaica on the proposed Cockpit Country Protected Area.

Mayors, Chief Executive Officers and other senior municipal representatives from Trelawny, St Ann, St James, Manchester, Clarendon and St Elizabeth were in attendance at the meeting.

Other representatives included officials from the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Water Resources Authority and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority.

NEPA says the meeting was convened to brief teams on the process adopted by the government in declaring the proposed boundaries, explain the accompanying initiatives and actions for areas outside of the boundary.

Further, the agency says the meeting was used to provide information and clarification on mandatory environmental impact assessment and the plans to develop and implement a management plan for the cockpit country.

Additionally, it says the briefing included a presentation on the proposed boundaries, highlighting its significance and raising awareness of the proposed boundary as a no mining zone as designated by Cabinet.

 “The government led by Prime Minister [Andrew] Holness is to be credited with providing leadership and working diligently in partnership with the key environmental and planning agencies and departments and other stakeholders in collectively agreeing on a boundary referred to as the CCPA,” said Peter Knight, NEPA Chief Executive Officer.

NEPA notes that after extensive consultations and deliberations, the area designated as the proposed Cockpit Country Protected Area was announced in Parliament on November 21, 2017, by Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

It points out that the proposed area spans six parishes – Trelawny, St Ann, St James, Manchester, Clarendon, and St Elizabeth.

The area comprises approximately 74,726 hectares and will be protected under law.

This includes existing forest reserves, significant hydrological, ecological features and cultural and heritage sites. 

A management plan will be prepared in a partnership with private landowners, local groups and other stakeholders.

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