14 Jul PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT BY REVOKING THE BEACH MINING LICENSE, SAYS THE PNP
The Opposition is calling for an immediate revocation of the Mining License given to Duncans Bay Development Company. It says the decision to vary the resolution of the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) and allow mining of the Duncans Beach is an abuse of political and ministerial powers.
The Opposition says although the NRCA Act allows an applicant who has been denied permission to apply to the Minster for consideration, the Minister’s first responsibility is to the wellbeing of the people and the environmental protection of our nation.
Spokesperson, Sen Sophia Frazer Binns says; “we are not convinced that due regard to protect the people and the environment was taken in this process. We are calling on the Prime Minister to answer the following questions:
● Did the Prime Minster in his capacity as the Minster with responsibility for the Environment hear the appeal himself, or was this function delegated?
● What were the reasons for the denial of the license by NEPA?
● What were the considerations of the Minister in varying the state agency’s decision?
● What new information was presented to the Minster at the Appeal that influenced his decision?
● Was there was any consultation with the residents of the Duncans Community prior to varying the decision of NEPA?
● How will this decision affect access to and use of the beach by residents of Duncans Bay specifically and Jamaicans in general?
● What considerations were given to the protection and preservation of the area which is a known sea turtles nestling region?
● Is the Prime Minister aware that all sea turtles are protected under Jamaica’s Wild Life Protection Act?
● How will members of the public who have been warned to avoid activities which disturb nesting female turtles, their nests, eggs or hatchlings be policed?
Additionally, the former Administration had requested the development of a Beach Sand Policy and Framework between NEPA and the Mines and Geology Department.
Was this policy completed and to what extent was it utilized?
Senator Frazer Binns noted that ‘good governance demands that Ministers do not exercise their powers arbitrarily and in a manner likely to be construed as partisan. It also compels the Minister to give due consideration to the findings of NEPA and the various agencies in this matter.”
The cavalier way in which the Prime Minister treated this matter, has compelled the Opposition to once again call for a separation of the Planning and Environment Ministries so as to avoid complicity in harming the environment.
We also strongly recommend that the Environment Portfolio be taken out of the Office of the Prime Minster, to ensure transparency, objectivity and the removal of any possible conflict of interest.