GOVERNMENT, which has been coming under increased pressure over plans to construct a transshipment port at Goat Islands, says Cabinet has not yet signed off on the proposal.
"... No final decision has been made by the Cabinet with regard to Chinese investors' proposal to develop a port facility and logistics and industrial park on Goat Islands. This investment would only be one component of the Government's priority Logistics Hub Initiative which includes other ports, airports and special economic zones," Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister Anthony Hylton was quoted in a press release sent by ministry.
Said the release: "The Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce (MIIC) continues to lead the logistic hub initiative. However, in joined up governance, and considering the scale of the initiative, the MIIC team works closely with other government ministries, departments and agencies, including the ministries of transport, works and housing; and water, land, environment and climate change, and foreign affairs and foreign trade."
The Jamaica Logistics Initiative is a clustering of large global businesses, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and global third party logistics providers with substantial cargo flows., said the ministry. In this regard, the Logistic Hub Initiative and its success will depend on the degree to which we provide the appropriate industrial and logistics infrastructure to sustain economic growth and transformation that is envisioned."
At the same time, Land and Environment Minister Robert Pickersgill said the concerns of environmental lobbyists and other stakeholders would be taken into account during the public consultation process on Goat Islands.
Said Pickersgill: "Regardless of who is the proponent, whether the Government of Jamaica or a private investor that desires to carry out development, there is a universally established standard process, necessitating objective analyses and assessments, which involve reviews by a number of Government of Jamaica regulatory agencies and the relevant parish council.
"Above all, there must be public stakeholder consultations with the population that may be impacted, whether negatively or positively, before a decision is taken."
He added: "As minister with responsibility for the environment, I am seized with the fact as to how critical it is for a Small Island State such as ours, to be absolutely certain that we protect and conserve the environment."
Goat Islands fall under the St Catherine Coast Development Order and the Town and Country Planning (Clarendon) Development Order. It is also covered under the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) Act 1991, and several other policies, legislation and regulations.