Christopher Serju, Gleaner Writer
"THE GREATEST enemy to the environment is abject poverty," said Transport Minister Dr Omar Davies. He was defending the Government's proposal on Tuesday to turn over the Goat Islands to Chinese investors to develop a logistics hub.
The two islands targeted for this development are located in the Portland Bight Protected Area and have nothing to do with the eastern parish whose name they bear. They are off the coast of Clarendon and St Catherine.
Environmentalists have since voiced objections to the proposal, pointing to the destruction of coral reefs and the decimation of the habitat of a number of aquatic and other animal species.
Delivering the keynote address at the official opening of the replacement Westmoreland Bridge in Chovey, St Mary, the former finance minister tried to sell the idea of the logistics hub as necessary to the country's economic future.
"The greatest enemy to preservation of the environment is abject poverty (because) that's when people start burning down forests to make charcoal. They do all sorts of things there, and unless we can begin to systematically provide for the unemployed opportunities for gainful employment, then the continued degradation of the environment is a given," he declared.