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Mining activity close to the Cockpit Country is detrimental to the environment in that area, says the opposition. This comes in the wake of the reports that Noranda Bauxite Company has been given the permission to start mining operations in some areas that fall in the Cockpit Country. The opposition’s stand has been expressed by Senator Sophia Fraser-Binns, who is also the spokesperson for the opposition on matters relating to land and environment.
Senator Binns Blames the Govt. for Unilateral Action
The thrust of the statement issued by Senator Sophia Fraser-Binns appeared to question the government on making such key decisions without involving any stakeholders. In this particular case, for instance, she said Southern Trelawny Environment Agency is at least one authority the government should have taken on board. The Cockpit Country is a protected area and any activity there which can jeopardise the environment needs to be first discussed with all stakeholders. There are groups and organisations dedicated to protecting Jamaica’s environment from being destroyed and the government must respect their viewpoint as well. The statement by the Opposition Leader did not fail to point out that the Prime Minister had promised that his government would be run in a transparent manner and that was one of the major platforms on which he received the mandate to govern the country.
Demands Reversal of the Decision
The opposition spokesperson has insisted that the government withdraw the decision to allow mining activity in the Cockpit Country by Noranda Bauxite Company or any other entity. If the mining company has already started mobilising its equipment, the opposition wants it to be stopped immediately and not moved to the site.
The environment is a sensitive issue for any government and on many occasions, economic development activities are found to clash with the protection of ecology and preservation of the flora and fauna. Digging through mountains to lay roads or mining for metal ores or other substances can cause disturbance to the habitation of the locality. There could be rare species of animals, birds or trees that may get displaced from their natural habitat. This has to be avoided. This is the reason for the opposition’s objection to the move.