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PNP wants ban on mining in Cockpit Country

Monday, September 25, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Opposition People's National Party (PNP) is calling for a speedy resolution to the definition of the Cockpit Country boundaries and a ban on mining in the area.

Spokesperson on Land and the Environment, Senator Sophia Frazer-Binns in a statement this morning said the Cockpit Country remains one of Jamaica's most preserved areas with rare flora and fauna, adding that it also has cultural significance, as the place where 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,” said Frazer-Binns.

According to the Opposition, based on reports of planned mining in the area, it cannot support the move, and is calling on the Government to immediately define the boundaries of the Cockpit Country and confirm whether there are plans to undertake mining in the area.

“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 argued.

She said 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”.

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