We need better communication regarding Cockpit Country, JET tells Govt

KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Jamaica Environment Trust (JET), while acknowledging Transport and Mining Minister Robert Montague's declaration in Parliament yesterday regarding protection of the Cockpit Country, is concerned that there isn't adequate communication from the government. 

Montague, in a response to recent comments in the media, told Parliament that there is no mining being conducted within the boundaries of the proposed Cockpit Country Protected Area.

“There is no mining and there is no plan for that. I will be the first to admit that since the Prime Minister clearly told this House about those proposed boundaries, enough communication in a simple and clear manner has not occurred,” Montague admitted.

“The Forestry Department is currently physically marking the boundaries on the ground. They have, so far, hosted four community meetings, but more is needed and more will be held,” he added.

In light of the minister's statement, JET is now requesting a response from government regarding the following:

1. Greater clarity for the Jamaican public on where the Cockpit Country Protected Area boundary lies and what factors were used to determine its position

2. A detailed updated timeline for the on-the-ground verification (ground-truthing) of the CCPA boundary by the Forestry Department

3. The designated Cockpit Country Protected Area boundary has not yet been completely verified on-the-ground, gazetted and declared protected under Jamaican law

4. The protections that will be secured for ecologically sensitive areas of the Cockpit Country which have been left outside the designated protected area

5. The CCPA has not yet been closed to mining under Jamaican law

6. The available options for Cockpit Country communities which happen to lie outside the CCPA and do not want bauxite mining in their communities.

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