Stop the slaughter of rural Jamaica

Stop the slaughter of rural Jamaica

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

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Dear Editor,

In the conclusions and recommendations of Conrad Douglas & Associates (CD&A) Limited's environmental impact assessment (EIA) for Special Mining Lease (SML) 173, they state: “Jamaica's immediate to medium social, economic, and sustainable development future is highly dependent on providing NJBP II [Noranda Jamaica Bauxite Partners II] with the permits to mine these bauxite resources. There are no other feasible immediate or short-term economic alternatives that have been identified that can be considered as a substitute to bring equal or greater macro and micro-economic benefits to Jamaica, at this time.”

Let it be noted that CD&A were paid to conduct the EIA by Noranda Jamaica Bauxite Partners II, of which the Government of Jamaica is 51 per cent owner.

Next, the term sustainable development is misused. Sustainable development is defined as “economic development that is conducted without depletion of natural resources”. Thus, by definition, bauxite mining cannot be sustainable development.

It is not our fault as citizens and residents of Jamaica that corrupt and inept administrations of both parties have been unable to wean the Government from its addiction to the aluminium industry, and have been unwilling to tax the wealthy or diversify the economy or properly invest the money received from the industry over the last 70 years.

Clarendon, Manchester, St Ann, St Catherine, and St Elizabeth have already been sacrificed to bauxite mining and alumina processing. SML 173 will extend the existing destruction in St Ann, and for the first time add Trelawny to the sacrifice zones.

The Government of Jamaica can't imagine a future beyond sacrificing the health, heritage, livelihoods, food security of six parishes, as well as the natural environment the entire island depends upon? What is “beneficial” to the Government of Jamaica is not beneficial to the people of Jamaica; nor the soil, land, water, air, flora, and fauna of Jamaica. It's time to stop the slaughter of rural Jamaica.

Esther Figueroa, PhD

Gordon Town, St Andrew

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