Six reasons against port on Goat Islands

Six reasons against port on Goat Islands

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

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THE Jamaica Civil Society Coalition (JCSC) on Monday issued a statement in which it registered its diagreement with the proposed location of the trans-shipment port on Goat Islands.

In its release, the JCSC said it supported similar views already expressed by member agency Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) and the Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation (C-CAM), which manages sections of the Portland Bight Protected Area, home to Goat Islands.

"The JCSC is appalled at the Government's intention to allow China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) to construct a trans-shipment Port in the Portland Bight/Goat Island area," it said.

The reasons the group gave are:

* The Portland Bight area, because of its coral reefs and mangroves, has been declared a protected area under the Natural Resources Conservation Authority Act (NRCA), and two fish sanctuaries have been declared under the Fisheries Industry Act to protect the fish nursery there.

* These would be destroyed totally, once and for all, by the proposed port construction.

* Thousands of fishers would be deprived of their livelihoods.

* The eco-tourism potential of the area, unique in Jamaica because of its biodiversity, would be wiped out.

* The Government has not demonstrated any exercise of due diligence. It has not shown any consideration of alternatives.

* There has been no consultation with the public or with its partners, the environmental bodies, quite contrary to the recent signing of a social partnership with its promise of transparency.

The group said it appears that Government is merely pandering to the whims and fancies of the Chinese investors, a situation that has seen the proposed location bounce from Gordon Key to Fort Augusta, and now to Portland Bight.

"Where is this Government's own plan, own feasibility studies? We are still waiting to have them aired for public response and discussion. As we did in 2012, the JCSC calls for the contents of the memorandum of understanding signed on behalf of the citizens of Jamaica with China Harbour Engineering Company to be made available to the public," the JCSC said.

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