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WE THE PEOPLE DEMAND OF THE GOVERNMENT TO SAVE THE COCKPIT COUNTRY AND DEFINE ITS BOUNDARIES

WE THE PEOPLE DEMAND OF THE GOVERNMENT TO SAVE THE COCKPIT COUNTRY AND DEFINE ITS BOUNDARIES

The Opposition is calling for a speedy resolution to the boundaries of the Cockpit Country and not to allow any further mining of the area. Spokesperson on Land and the Environment, Senator Frazer-Binns says the Cockpit Country remains one of Jamaica’s most preserved areas with rare flora and fauna. It also has cultural significance, as the place where our Maroons found refuge during their fight for freedom.

The use/exploitation of the Cockpit Country will affect our water supply and quality. The municipal and agricultural water supply for much of western and northern Jamaica is dependent on the input of groundwater from Cockpit Country sources.  The Government therefore has a duty to protect the health of its people by protecting the Cockpit Country.

Based on reports of planned mining in the area, the Opposition cannot support this move and calls on the Government to immediately:

  1.  Confirm whether there are plans to undertake mining in the area.
  2. To define the boundaries of the Cockpit Country.

While in government, our administration undertook various studies which guided its decision including the study undertaken by the University of the West Indies. Relying on these studies we were able to agree to the boundaries of the Cockpit Country and at the time of leaving office we were close to its completion. Therefore it is surprising and curious, that after almost two years the government is unable to publicly state the boundaries of the Cockpit Country.

Frazer-Binns noted that there is absolutely no reason for mining to take place in the Cockpit Country as studies conducted showed that the country has approximately 50 years of bauxite to be mined in other areas if mining continues at the present rate. Therefore, there is no basis for a license to be issued for the mining of bauxite within the precincts or the inner boundary of the Cockpit Country.

She notes that any type of Mining or prospecting in the Cockpit Country will bring about irreversible damage to the area and our livelihood including our water and eco system.

We therefore call on the administration to come clean about the boundaries of the Cockpit Country as well as the limits or agreements given to any entity for mining in the area.