Gov’t scraps Goat Is­lands project

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Sher­ine Wil­liams Gleaner Writer sher­ine.wil­liams@glean­erjm.com

PRIME MIN­IS­TER An­drew Hol­ness says the Ja­maican Gov­ern­ment will not be go­ing ahead with plans to de­velop a trans-ship­ment port and in­dus­trial park on Goat Is­lands in the Port­land Bight Pro­tected Area.

The de­vel­op­ment comes only days af­ter the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund (IMF) pub­lished the Gov­ern­ment’s Mem­o­ran­dum of Eco­nomic and Fi­nan­cial Poli­cies, which said that the ad­min­is­tra­tion was press­ing ahead with the project. Speak­ing in New York on Thurs­day night, Hol­ness said that while a trans-ship­ment project is un­der con­sid­er­a­tion, it would not be on the Goat Is­lands. He said the Gov­ern­ment is keen on growth and de­vel­op­ment, but the po­ten­tial en­vi­ron­men­tal fall­out makes the Goat Is­lands un­suit­able.

OTHER LO­CA­TIONS IN JA

“There are other lo­ca­tions in Ja­maica that would do less en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­age and prob­a­bly be just as good strate­gi­cally,” Hol­ness said. Com­ment­ing on the doc­u­ment pub­lished by the IMF, Hol­ness said that the Goat Is­lands project does not ac­cu­rately rep­re­sent the de­ci­sion of his ad­min­is­tra­tion. “The en­try into an of­fi­cial doc­u­ment may not have rep­re­sented the de­ci­sion of the Gov­ern­ment,” Hol­ness re­sponded to a ques­tion posed on the is­sue at a town hall meet­ing.

How­ever, he did not ex­plain how the en­try ended up in the doc­u­ment that the Gov­ern­ment sub­mit­ted to the IMF.

The prime min­is­ter said he would be mak­ing a statement in Par­lia­ment to clar­ify the mat­ter.

Mean­while, the Ja­maica En­vi­ron­men­tal Trust (JET) said it wel­comes the Gov­ern­ment’s an­nounce­ment that it would not be de­vel­op­ing a trans-ship­ment port and in­dus­trial park on the Goat Is­lands.

JET said it was look­ing for­ward to re­ceiv­ing fur­ther in­for­ma­tion about the al­ter­na­tive lo­ca­tions.

JET is also call­ing on the prime min­is­ter to hold a press brief­ing on his re­turn to Ja­maica to dis­cuss other ma­jor en­vi­ron­men­tal de­ci­sions that are pend­ing.

Chi­nese firm China Har­bour En­gi­neer­ing Com­pany had ex­pressed an in­ter­est in build­ing a trans-ship­ment port at Goat Is­lands, but there has been strong push­back from en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists.

They claim that such a project would dis­turb ma­rine life and ruin a sig­nif­i­cant part of the Port­land Bight.

HOL­NESS

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