THE EDITOR, Sir:
The recent death of Ronald Coase, the eminent economist, reminded me of his suggested solution to issues not unlike our Goat Island controversy, that involve a 'negative externality'. When transactions between two parties (in this case the Jamaican Government and China) negatively impact a third party (in this case the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) or the Jamaican people), it can be resolved if property rights are assigned. In this case, if Goat Islands belong to JET then it might be possible for them to assign a 'price' for the ensuing environmental impact. They might be willing to sacrifice the island for funding that may save the coral reefs, perhaps.
The path from theory to implementation may be complex but setting a price can decide if an alternate site with less environmental impact is better. At the end of the day, sacrifices can be made for economic advancement if we are adequately compensated.
DONALD ALLEN Jr