Sun | Jun 4, 2023

Holness commits to balance in preserving Jamaica’s natural, historical assets

Says economic investments can enhance value

Published:Friday | January 27, 2023 | 12:12 AMChristopher Serju/ - Senior Gleaner Writer

Jamaica has made progress in ensuring that the environmental, heritage and historical value of communities such as Port Royal are preserved or even enhanced, whenever prospects for economic investments present, according to Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

He expressed dismay that whenever questions of economic investments are raised in respect of such areas, views on the potential damage to the areas are usually brought to the fore and dominate the narrative, but these may not necessarily be accurate.

“We cannot view investments as always having the possibility or determination to destroy natural assets, or destroy our heritage or historical assets,” Holness told Monday’s launch of the German Ship Repair Jamaica shipyard project in Harbour Head, Harbour View, St Andrew.

“I think there is an equilibrium that can be attained where investments can be made that preserve our natural assets; that help us to realise the economic potential which are locked in these assets, without destroying them for future generations. And that is the direction that the government is going,” the prime minister declared.

Whatever the country’s natural or historical assets are, a way must be found to unlock the value in them, without diminishing cultural, historical, or environmental value, Holness argued, since the lack of economic investment sometimes leads to them becoming dilapidated and falling into ruin.

“From what I’ve seen … heritage value and the environmental value in many of our assets are not being preserved because of lack of investment, lack of attention and lack of use,” Holness pointed out.

“The situation in Port Royal would justify that observation. We have had those assets there for years but slowly they have been destroyed for lack of use and attention, regardless of whatever laws have existed to preserve them.”

He assured: “But now there is greater certainty that the assets that are there by virtue of the investments that have been made and those natural and historical assets will be preserved.”