Sun | May 31, 2020

Union leaders offer mediation to end Cockpit Country mining protests

Published:Thursday | September 19, 2019 | 12:00 AM
Taino chief Robert Pairman (Kasike Nibonri Kaiman) blows a shell during Tuesday's anti-mining protest by Cockpit Country interest groups near Gordon House in Kingston as they awaited the arrival of members of the Parliament for the sitting of the House.

Three union leaders have offered to provide mediation services for the parties in the dispute over mining in the Cockpit Country.

Kavan Gayle, president of the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union; Lambert Brown, the head of the University and Allied Workers Union; and St Patrice Ennis, general secretary of the Union of Technical Administrative and Supervisory Personnel are to begin the process of social dialogue and engagement aimed at resolving the dispute.

Their unions also represent workers at the Noranda Bauxite Company in St Ann.

Noranda and Cockpit Country stakeholders have been at odds over mining near the boundary of the protected area.

In a statement Thursday, the union leaders said the issues could be resolved through dialogue.

“As inveterate practitioners in the field of social dialogue, the unions are confident that a resolution to the imbroglio surrounding the Cockpit Country can be found, if all the stakeholders are engaged in dialogue and are committed to a resolution that is in the best interest of the country,” said a spokesperson for the unions in a statement Thursday.

Noranda workers this week protested outside the offices of the Jamaica Environment Trust in St Andrew and the Houses of Parliament over what they say is misinformation in the public domain about mining in the Cockpit Country protected area.

At the same time, environmental advocates were protesting against the impending mining.

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