No headway in Negril dispute
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I would like to thank Wykeham McNeill, minister of tourism, for the instrumental role he played in bringing to fruition a meeting between the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), the National Works Agency (NWA), and the stakeholders of Negril. This was an effort to understand better the issues relating to the breakwater project, and for Dr McNeill himself to appreciate what the project entails, as he admitted to being briefed only in early 2014.
Several inconsistencies became apparent at this meeting, namely:
The PIOJ is adamant that the funds have to be used for the breakwaters and cannot be changed. This was not the understanding stakeholders had from a meeting with a member of the Adaptation Fund.
The NWA's presentation to the minister left out several key components such as the dredging of the South Negril River and the dumping up of an area of sea to reclaim land. There are several negative environmental impacts associated with dredging of what was never a river and 'creation' of land that will change the natural coastline of the resort town forever.
The National Environment and Planning Agency had a tender out last year for an engineering consultant to endorse this project, review the design and monitor the project from start to finish on their behalf. This tender closed in October 2013, and to date, no one has been awarded this contract.
There has been no consideration given to the maintenance required for breakwaters.
The three persons from Negril on the PIOJ Steering Committee have never held any meetings or discussions with the community. The community should be asked to nominate their representatives.
The next step will be the public consultation meeting, which has been rescheduled for July 29 at 3:30 p.m. at the Negril Community Centre.
We all hope that this will be a productive consultation and not another rehashing of the facts with tedious technical presentations in an effort to shorten the question-and-answer period.
Charela Inn Hotel