Awaiting the fate of the Cockpit Country

Monday, November 20, 2017

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New York , USA — Chief executive officer of Jamaica Environment Trust Diana McCaulay said here last week that Government's position on the fate of the Cockpit Country “is being eagerly awaited by Jamaicans concerned about the many environmental issues facing the country”.

“We don't yet know the fate of the Cockpit Country,” said McCaulay, who delivered the keynote presentation to the Caribbean International Network's (CIN) lecture series at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem.

She said that Prime Minister Andrew Holness had promised to make an announcement on the matter in Parliament this week.

“Except there is another postponement, we expect an announcement on Tuesday,” but at this point the fate of the Cockpit country “still hangs in the balance“, the environmental activist said.

A response was previously promised by the Government by October 30, after JET led a successful petition — gathering more than 30,000 signatures — which met the requirements under a new petition portal set up by Government, to allow Jamaicans to advocate on important matters.

McCaulay, who again expressed concerns about any mining activities in the Cockpit Country, later told the Jamaica Observer that she “could not disclose the next move at this time” if Government's announcement is not in keeping with the expectations of the environmental lobby.

Addressing other environmental issues, McCaulay, described Jamaica's treatment of human waste as “grossly inadequate”, noting that, according to the 2011 census, “Only a quarter of homes and businesses on the Island are connected to a sewage plant of any kind.”

On the matter of climate change, McCaulay said, “The debate about climate change is over,” as it is already happening. She said it was caused by human activity and that it was an important matter that Jamaica had to pay attention to.

Wednesday's event was the 13th in the CIN lecture series at which presentations have been made by experts in politics, academia and business.

— Harold G Bailey

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