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Government cautioned against Goat Islands project by International group

Published:Tuesday | February 18, 2014 | 2:36 AM

An international environmental group is cautioning the government against going ahead with proposals to use the Goat Islands as a site for a transshipment port in its quest to develop a logistics hub.



The caution is contained in a letter written by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to Minister of Land Water Environment and Climate Change, Robert Pickersgill.



The letter was forwarded to The Gleaner/Power 106 News Centre by the Jamaica Environment Trust which has been raising concern about the development of the Goat Islands which are a part of the Portland Bight Protected Area.



In its letter, the IUCN notes that the Portland Bight Protected area is home to a number of species which can only be found in Jamaica, some of which are at risk of extinction.



The international organisation also says the vegetation of the area provides tens of millions of US dollars annually in carbon sequestration services.

It notes that a recent estimate of the sequestration value of the mangrove forest alone was US$45 millionper year.



The IUCN is urging the Government to carry out a Strategic Environmental Assessment before deciding on whether to go ahead with the project.



It says foregoing the assessment would set a very dangerous precedent for all protected areas of Jamaica.



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