Montague calls for transparency in Cockpit Country mining issue

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

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KINGSTON, Jamaica – Senator Robert Montague, shadow minister on mining and energy, is calling for full disclosure on issues surrounding the Cockpit Country mining issue.

The Opposition spokesperson on Tuesday expressed concerns about allegations of mining in the protected area.
Senator Montague stated: “The response of the Government, so far, is weak and inconclusive. These allegations have revealed that there are major issues in mining to be resolved.”

He also said that the issues at hand are that the Cockpit Country is a protected area, it is the source of 40 per cent of Jamaica’s water, and it is home to many protected species of plants and animals.

Montague lamented in the release that the Government had given a firm undertaking not to allow mining in the area.

He insisted that the Government must accept the traditional boundaries of the Cockpit Country and take all necessary steps to prevent mining and associated activities.
“We are calling on the Government to make public, any agreement, permit or licences it has with Noranda Jamaica Bauxite Partnership (NJBP), with regards to permission for mining,” Montague argued.

“We in the Opposition also want NEPA and the Mining and Geology Department to have a permanent monitoring presence in the sensitive and protected area,” he continued. “We owe the future generations of Jamaicans nothing less. We are demanding that the Government be open, transparent and accountable in this matter.

“The lives and livelihood of many poor and vulnerable families are dependent on keeping the Cockpit Country safe. The water supplies of many communities are dependent on keeping mining activities out of the Cockpit Country,” Montague argued. “The Government must take the necessary steps to protect one of Jamaica’s purest natural treasures.

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