PNP demands compensation for residents affected by contaminated river, backs MP's court action

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PNP demands compensation for residents affected by contaminated river, backs MP's court action

Sunday, October 20, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Opposition Shadow Minister of Water, Environment and Climate Change, Dr Fenton Ferguson, said that the People's National Party (PNP) supports St Catherine North Central's Member of Parliament, Natalie Neita, in her pursuit of legal action against West Indies Alumina Company (WINDALCO) on behalf of her constituents.

Ferguson demanded that the residents receive proper and adequate compensation for the damages and inconvenience suffered as a result of the contamination by WINDALCO.

He expressed concern at what he called the “constant breaches and flagrant disregard for proper environmental practices and laws by selfish practitioners and companies in Jamaica.”

He further called on Minister Daryl Vaz to urgently address the frequent environmental breaches by WINDALCO, which he alleged has repeatedly discharged its effluent into the Rio Cobre.

“This has resulted at times in disastrous fish kills, loss of livelihood, illness relating to infected fish consumption and contamination of water for domestic usage,” Ferguson said.

The Environment Shadow Minister called on Vaz to “act decisively in concentrating the full force of his office to restore environmental best-practice through uninterrupted compliance with the NRCA Act, the Wild Life Protection Act and the uncompromising implementation of related penalties, for not only WINDALCO but all companies and institutions in breach of the said Acts.”

Ferguson further called on the minister to immediately instruct the National Environment and Planning Agency to map and establish a working list of Jamaica's priority rivers and waterways, locate all businesses and companies along these areas for potential hazards, and to direct the constant monitoring, testing and prevention of destructive discharge into rivers and waterways.

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