KINGSTON, Jamaica —
The People's National Party (PNP) has expressed disappointment with the Government's placement of the Environment and Climate Change portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation and has called on the Andrew Holness-led administration to establish a specific ministry for the portfolio.
In a release today, the PNP said that “as a Small Island Developing State, Jamaica is already feeling the adverse effects of climate change” and they believe “putting the environment portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth is a retrograde step, especially given the track record of the Prime Minister and the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA).”
“The historical evidence speaks for itself, whenever there is a conflicting decision to be made, the Prime Minister decides in favour of the economy, often at great peril to the environment,” the statement read.
Opposition Spokesperson on Land, Environment and Climate Change, Senator Sophia Frazer-Binns, says this is particularly troubling considering the promise by the Prime Minister to place greater emphasis on environmental protection and the effects of climate change.
“We cannot continue to sacrifice the environment for economic growth. What we need is a balanced approach to economic growth and environmental protection,” Frazer-Binns argued.
Frazer-Binns noted some recent decisions by the Government including SML173, Duncan's Bay, Bernard Lodge and Bengal Development Limited, which she said highlighted the “Government's lack of regard for the environment.”
“These short-sighted decisions will have long-term and devastating consequences for the environment,” Frazer-Binns said.
The Opposition expressed that they believe in “sustainable development where economic decisions are driven by environmental analysis” adding that based on the actions of the Prime Minister in these matters, they are “convinced that the Minister of Economic Growth has a serious conflict and therefore cannot be the Minister with responsibility for the Environment.”
The Opposition went on to note that none of the ministries named include the Land portfolio, which is such a critical asset and must be managed properly. “Too many Jamaicans are unable to access land and become landowners. In order to achieve maximum land ownership; a ministry that can focus on those important matters is necessary,”said Frazer-Binns.