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'Save Cockpit Country' petition surpasses 15k signatures

Saturday, September 23, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The 'Save Cockpit Country' petition launched by the Jamaica Environmental Trust (JET) on the Office of the Prime Minister's (OPM's) website has surpassed the required 15,000 signatures by 1,258 at last check— a full week before the deadline next Saturday (September 30).

Based on the instructions on the OPM website, the petition needs to gather 15,000 signatures in 30 days for it to be reviewed and if it complies with agreed standards, the OPM will issue an official response.

The successful accumulation of the signatures came on the heels of an assurance by JET yesterday that it is running a clean campaign to secure votes following the offline status of the petition on the participation tab of Office of the Prime Minister's (OPM's) website on Thursday.

It was reported that the petition was removed from the website about 3:30 pm Thursday.

The OPM portal was brought back online about 9:00 am yesterday.

Read: 'Save Cockpit Country' petition back online, JET assures clean campaign

Many have since took to social media to celebrate the success of the campaign to get signatures now that it has met the threshold to get a response from the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) led administration.

The petition outlines that the Cockpit Country is the largest remaining natural forest in Jamaica. The fresh water it stores and releases via almost 40 rivers, streams, springs, upwellings, glades and ponds supplies about 40 per cent = of Western Jamaica's water needs.

It said Jamaica is facing major negative impacts from Global Climate Change — unpredictable rainfall, and extreme weather events including drought. Ensuring the preservation of Cockpit Country promotes climate resilience, is an investment in the future, and literally means fresh water in the bank.

"Cockpit Country is a symbol of resistance and triumph, as well as an important cultural and historical site for Jamaicans. It was here that the Maroons fought the British to a Treaty in 1738-9. Cockpit Country was a sanctuary for the Maroons, who still live within its borders. The plants and animals of Cockpit Country are extraordinarily diverse. Some are found only in Jamaica, and others, especially a multitude of plants, are found only in Cockpit Country.

We, the undersigned, call on the Prime Minister of Jamaica to:

• Establish the boundary of Cockpit Country to include hydrology, geomorphology, biological diversity, culture and history. The Cockpit Country Stakeholders Group (CCSG) boundary is the only one which takes in all these factors. ,p> • Close Cockpit Country to mining, quarrying and prospecting, to comply with the community consultations already held and the recommendations of the University of the West Indies boundary study completed in 2013.

• Declare Cockpit Country a Protected National Park and put in place comprehensive measures to ensure its management and conservation for all Jamaicans, including future generations."




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