St Ann communities have come out against bauxite mining in their parish.
This is amidst revelations of the award of a Special Exclusive Prospecting License (SEPL) to Noranda Bauxite.
“Noranda Bauxite Company (49% owned by Rusal, 51% owned by the Government of Jamaica) has been granted Special Exclusive Prospecting License #578 which would expand the company’s mining activities westward through St. Ann into Trelawny and Cockpit Country, including 3,900 hectares (nearly 10,000 acres) of Forest Reserves,” said a release from local community actors and the Windsor Research Centre that operates inside the biodiversity-rich Cockpit Country.
“This prospecting licence covers an area from Mahogany Hall (near Jackson Town) to Brown’s Town (11 kilometers), and extends 18 kilometers southwards to Wait-a-Bit and Cave Valley. Recently Noranda extended mining activities beyond its Special Mining Lease #165 boundaries and is building a haul road into the area covered by SEPL #578: part of a hill has been removed together with John Brady’s farm land and soon the cattle grazing land of an adjacent farmer will also be destroyed,” the release added.
Community members in Gibraltar, Madras and Barnstaple, who are on the edge of this expansion, it said further, are alarmed that mining will begin in their communities.
Reacting to the perceived threat, community members in Gibraltar, Madras and Barnstaple have created community-based associations to stop the expansion of bauxite mining into Western St. Ann and Cockpit Country, and to demand that the government revoke SEPL #578.
To that end, they came together last Tuesday to give informational tours that show the devastating effects of bauxite mining on neighbouring rural communities of Lime Tree Garden, Caledonia and Watt Town, as well as to demonstrate the value of keeping their communities intact.
Bishop Robert Clarke, founder and builder of the Gibraltar New Testament United Holiness Church of Christ, is adamant that Noranda Bauxite’s current mining expansion must be stopped.
“No to mining in the Gibraltar and extended areas, because this will affect both the church’s community and the adjoining community at large; this will also increase poverty in these communities as we rely purely on agriculture as the main source of income,” he predicted in the release.
He is calling on the Government to intervene to save these communities from the destructive consequences of bauxite mining and to also protect the artifacts, monuments and historic buildings, including Gibraltar’s stately Baptist church established in 1873.
Ivy Waltan, Deacon and past-principal of Gibraltar’s all-age school is also opposed to bauxite mining.
“We don’t want our churches and historic sites destroyed and we don’t want our school, which has just been refurbished at a cost of over $40,000,000, to be damaged,” she said.
“Bauxite Mining gives us little or no job opportunities and has been done with no consideration for communities. They mine close to roads, leaving steep drops into deep pits. And reclamation is poor: I want to see proper reclamation demonstrated on existing pits before Noranda even starts discussing more mining,” Waltan added.
Linsford Hamilton, a farmer from Madras said their efforts against mining are geared toward the benefit of “the third and fourth generations because the first generation was stupid and give away gold in return for feathers”.
“It’s like a man sell cow and hang on to the tail,” he added.
Young constituents, too, favour thwarting bauxite mining in the communities.
Lambert Hamilton, 17, chair of their newly formed association in Madras said: “Whatever decisions made now are by persons who will be dead and gone leaving us to bear the consequences. I would like to know if these decision makers are not aware of sustainable development: ‘providing for needs of current generation without limiting the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’?”
Meanwhile, the bauxite company has sought to answer the concerns.
“The Special Exclusive Prospecting Licence (SEPL) referred to only allows Noranda to explore (drilling and ground-penetrating radar) and such process has no environmental effects,” the company told the Gleaner newspaper in Jamaica recently.
SOME 200 scientists, ornithologists, conservationists, students, and educators from across the Caribbean and the world will converge in Kingston, Jamaica next week.
They will attend the 20th International Meeting of BirdsCaribbean, to be held at the Knutsford Court Hotel in the capital from July 25 to 29, under the theme “Birds — Connecting Communities and Conservation”.
“The conference has plenty to offer in an unusually urban setting. By contrast, participants will also venture out on exciting field trips to the Blue Mountains and Cockpit Country among other locations, and bird-watching sessions around Kingston — an opportunity to see at least some of Jamaica’s 29 remarkable endemic birds,” said a release from BirdsCaribbean, which is organising the meeting.
Local Organising Committee members include the Forestry Department, Hope Gardens, Jamaica Conservation Development Trust, Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation, BirdLife Jamaica, and Windsor Research Centre.
Meanwhile, there will also be a special “Jamaica Day” at the hotel on Saturday, July 25 and to a fund-raising workshop conducted by Mazarine Treyz (Wild Woman Fundraising) on Tuesday, July 28.
“Seminars, training workshops and roundtable discussions will enable conference delegates to network and share their research and latest conservation efforts in Jamaica and across the region,” the press release revealed.
Activities will also include a pre-conference taxidermy workshop with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology; a symposium on Invasive Alien Species and sessions on Event Photography, Seabird Conservation, Forest Endemics, as well as the Ecological Value of Migrants in the Caribbean.
There is, too, a lineup of keynote speakers and experts from the Caribbean, the U.S., Canada, and Europe. A summer camp at Hope Zoo for children from selected schools is also on the calendar.
A highlight of the meeting will be a photography competition, open to all participants eighteen years and older, reflecting the theme of the conference. Full details can be found on the meeting website.
For registration and other details, go to 2015Meeting.BirdsCaribbean.org
BirdsCaribbean — formerly the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds — is a non-profit organisation committed to the conservation of wild birds and their habitats in the insular Caribbean.
More than 80,000 local people participate in its programmes each year, making it the most broad-based conservation organisation in the region. Find “Birds Caribbean” on Facebook and on Twitter @BirdsCaribbean.
Tel: (876) 894-3772
Following a series of recent meetings, government stakeholders, including the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment, and Climate Change, are said to be closer to a boundary recommendation for the biodiversity-rich Cockpit Country.
The recommendation should form the basis of a final Cabinet decision, following years of agitation by civil society actors, who are keen to have the area — home to the Leeward Maroons and an abundance of flora and fauna endemic to the island — protected.
READ more at: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20150703/govt-agencies-near-agreement-cockpit-country-boundary
ENERGY was among the issues addressed by Jamaica’s Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade Arnaldo Brown, when he met earlier this month with the Jamaican Diaspora in Trinidad and Tobago.
The occasion was an event hosted by His Excellency David Prendergast, the Jamaican High Commissioner in Port of Spain, at Jamaica Place.
The gathering, which included Jamaicans studying at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine or residing in Trinidad and Tobago, followed the recently concluded 6th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference, held from June 13-18 in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
The State Minister engaged nationals in a lively Q&A segment on not only energy but also topics such as the economy, foreign direct investment and Jamaica’s improved ranking on the ease of doing business index, fielding questions on agriculture, manufacturing, security, education, information and communication technology and the logistics hub.
“Jamaica’s foreign policy and the realisation of Vision 2030 necessitate the building of a sustainable and meaningful partnership with its Diaspora,” Brown noted.
He further recognised the significant contributions made by Jamaican nationals overseas over the years, through their support in the areas of health, education, social intervention programmes and remittances, among others.
Delita McCallum, Counsellor at the High Commission, delighted the audience with an entertaining skit. Attendees were also treated to Jamaican fare prepared by a Jamaican national operating a restaurant in Port of Spain. A registration desk was set up to facilitate registration with the High Commission.
The State Minister was on an official visit to chair a two-day United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UN-ECLAC) Symposium on Sustainable Development Goals for the Caribbean Within the Post-2015 development agenda, followed by the 17th Meeting of the Monitoring Committee of the Caribbean Development and Cooperation Committee (CDCC).
For more information, contact:
High Commission for Jamaica
Port of Spain
Trinidad and Tobago
NEGRIL, Westmoreland. 23 June 2015 — The Negril Area Environmental Protection Trust (NEPT), as part of its mandate to manage the Negril Marine Park, recently hosted an awareness-raising workshop to benefit local community stakeholders.
Held on June 10, the workshop attracted the participation of more than 75 participants, among them water sports operators and fisher folk from the five main fishing beaches in the park — Green Island, Orange Bay, Negril, Little Bay, and Broughton.
“The objective of the workshop was to highlight the breaches in the Negril Marine Park as well as to improve the stakeholders understanding of the importance of Special Fishery Conservation Areas, the Marine Park Regulations and the Negril Marine Park Zoning Plan,” said a release from NEPT.
“The overarching goal is to stimulate self-governance or regulation amongst the stakeholders. This will ensure that proper practices are carried out in the Negril Marine Park, thus reducing the expenses incurred in boat patrols and other costly enforcement activities,” the release added.
The day’s event was chaired by NEPT Executive Director Keisha Spencer. who, together with Antoneisha Dunn, a Marine Park Ranger/Fisheries Warden, engaged participants in a pre-test to gauge their understanding of the importance of a marine park, user zones within marine parks and the rules that should govern marine parks.
With that foundation laid, a series of presentations were done, including one from Jean Brown, president of the Negril Coral Reef Preservation Society, on the history of the Negril Marine Park and the Negril Environmental Protection Area (EPA); and another from Ranya Reid-Edwards, an environmental officer from the National Environment and Planning Agency, on the Negril Marine Park Zoning Plan.
“This presentation [by Reid-Edwards] was key as user conflicts often arise in particular no-fishing zones and motorized craft activities in non-motorized zones. The plan is a five-year one and when gazetted will make the Negril Marine Park the first to have a zoning plan,” the release said.
Other presentations included Dr. Karl Aiken’s ‘Fish Sanctuaries In Jamaica: Success Through Enforcement’.
Aiken — a senior lecturer in marine zoology at the Department of Life Sciences, University of the West Indies, Mona — highlighted the need for mechanisms to address the decline in fish stocks in Jamaica, the establishment of sanctuaries as an important mechanism, the success stories in Jamaica, and the benefits to fisher folks when they obey the laws governing special fishery conservation areas.
The workshop concluded with presentation of prizes and a documentation of next steps.
Participants received a variety of prizes, which were awarded for categories such as The Most Indigent Fisherman, The Longest Fishing Fisherman, The Most Knowledgeable Fisherman, The Most Principled Fisherman, The Model Fisherman, and The Best Attendant.
“Next steps from the workshop will include NEPT continuing its monthly outreach meetings with the fishing groups and more so to develop alternative livelihood projects that will support fisher folks [who] are currently engaged in spear fishing. Spear fishing is illegal in a marine park,” the release noted.
“NEPT will also work with the groups to build their capacity and to implement projects that will provide sustainable funding to improve the natural resources in the area and demarcation of the zones in the park to ensure compliance,” it added.
As a part of the next steps, the NEPT team engaged marine police officers in a familiarisation tour of the Negril Marine Park.
“The officers were taken to the northern end of the Negril Marine Park and key areas where breaches were highlighted such as the dive and snorkel sites, swimmers lane and non-motorised zone and conservation zones,” the release revealed.
“The boundaries of the Orange Bay Special Fishery Conservation Area were also shown to the Officers. The familiarisation tour was done as one means of strengthening the collaboration with the Negril Marine Police officers and also to aid in bridging current enforcement gaps,” it said further.
The Negril Marine Park was officially declared on March 4, 1998 and covers a total area of approximately 160 km2, extending from Davis Cove River in Hanover to St. John’s Point in Westmoreland. The boundaries of the park begin at the high water mark on shore to approximately two miles (3.2 km) out to sea.
For more information, contact:
Ms. Keisha Spencer