Negril Chamber of Commerce: Investors Can’t Just Do As They Please at Jamaica’s Expense

Here is a press release from the Negril Chamber of Commerce regarding the collapse of the Royalton Negril hotel building. The Chamber has been following the issue of the former Grand Lido Hotel very closely and has been very active in seeking information on the project – as well as persistently advocating on several other environmental and planning issues of concern, including the removal of sand. You can join the “Negril Pulse” Facebook page, where these issues have been addressed on numerous occasions. 

The question is: Why is no one held accountable? Will anyone be held accountable now, after this disaster?

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Negril Chamber of Commerce

West End Road, Negril  P.O. Box 3055 Westmoreland, Jamaica
Email info@negrilchamberofcommerce.com

The Negril Chamber of Commerce (NCC) is saddened and concerned to hear of the injuries to workers from the collapsed building at the site of the Royalton Negril hotel this morning.

This project started off badly, when the demolition of the old Grand Lido hotel was taking place. The rubble from this exercise was illegally dumped and it was after the fact that the permits were granted. There were no fines levied on the investor and/or the contractor as stipulated by the law.

Then, before receiving approval of their plans from the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) and National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), the hotel was well under construction. This resulted in NEPA issuing a stop order on the works, which was blatantly ignored and a few days later, their permit was granted. There was also no requirement from the investors to have an Environmental Impact Assessment done, although they are increasing the size of the hotel from just over 200 rooms to some 700 plus rooms. NEPA however assured the NCC that this project was on a special monitoring list.

The NCC requested under the Access to Information Act the drawings submitted for approval and protested the rooms over the water shown on what was received. They were told by NEPA that this was not being considered and that we obviously received incorrect information. We were promised via email of November 5, 2015 from NEPA’s CEO Peter Knight that “a copy of the final designs/drawings for this development will be available for viewing by all concerned very soon – once the permitting etc. is completed, it will show no inclusion or consideration of overwater rooms at this time.”

Further reminders to the NEPA CEO to fulfill this promise have been ignored.
The NCC is alarmed at the rate of progress of this building and notes that the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) issued a press release on April 5, 2016 on the blatant environmental breaches of this project, including failure to submit plans although construction is well underway. Again there is no word on this from NEPA.

The NCC is calling on the new Minister responsible for the environment, the NRCA and NEPA boards to immediately halt construction and ensure that not only the environmental concerns are addressed but also that there is compliance with building codes and the development orders. It is unacceptable for an investor to do as they please at the expense of Jamaican lives and Jamaica’s environment.

For more information contact:

Mary Veira: mary@couples.com

Sophie Grizzle Roumel: grizzle@cwjamaica.com; (876) 421-9899

Christine Cohen: (876) 887-2891 christine.cohen@hotmail.com

Blue Diamond Royalton Resorts are proud of their record of sustainable practices. "Royalton Luxury Resorts, Memories Resorts & Spa and Starfish Resorts continuously strive to be proud leaders in sustainable tourism. By adhering to internationally accepted criteria for the sustainable operation and management of hotels and resorts, we endeavor to minimize our impact on the environment and improve the communities around us." From www.bluediamondresorts.com
Blue Diamond Royalton Resorts are proud of their record of sustainable practices. “Royalton Luxury Resorts, Memories Resorts & Spa and Starfish Resorts continuously strive to be proud leaders in sustainable tourism. By adhering to internationally accepted criteria for the sustainable operation and management of hotels and resorts, we endeavor to minimize our impact on the environment and improve the communities around us.” From http://www.bluediamondresorts.com

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