Open letter to CHECSunday, February 02, 2014
As you clearly know there is grave concern about your planned development of the Goat Islands in the Portland Bight Protected Area (PBPA). We have been to your website and note that you have removed your environmental policy statement. The recent Business Week online magazine notes that China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) is involved in environment protection and recalls that your firm has done some good for the environment (ie, Trash Racks, Powerful Guard of Primitive Tropical Sea, and statements concerning preserving the pristine area of the Red Sea).
"In order to protect this beautiful sea area, the project team went through careful surveys, profound research and repeated tests, and made trash racks of reasonable cost, which proved significantly effective in environmental protection."
Now, knowing that the PBPA is an environmentally sensitive area and has several IUCN-listed endangered and critically endangered species, why would you pursue construction in the area? This does not seem to be in line with your stated policies.
CHEC was told that other locations would be better suited for this project. Yet the scoping study delivered to Parliament in October 2013 was tailor-made for this "development".
We are calling for an immediate halt to the purposed trans-shipment port in the PBPA and suggest you look at one of the other sites that was purposed by the GOJ.
Jamaica's Charter of Rights Section 13 (3)(l) protects "the right to enjoy a healthy and productive environment free from the threat of injury or damage from environmental abuse and degradation of the ecological heritage".
The PBPA belongs to the people of Jamaica and is held in trust by the GOJ. The citizens have not given their collective consent to sell and are raising concerns about such a development on their property.
We direct you to http://www.change.org/petitions/no-to-port-on-goat-island-jamaica-no-trans-shipping-port-portland-bight-protected-area-Jamaica. Read some of the comments the citizens have made. Listen to what they are saying in ever- increasing numbers, and reconsider your plans. We ask on behalf of the more than 4,600 petition signers, over 1,000 active Facebook members, and the species of the PBPA.
Steven G Smith
NO! to port on Goat Islands/PBPA, Jamaica