Negril Chamber of Commerce Still Unhappy Over Unresolved Breakwater Issue

Much more clarity is needed on the issue of the proposed breakwater for the resort town of Negril – one of several environmental issues left hanging in mid-air by the previous administration. A very confusing media report has apparently not helped matters. Here is the Negril Chamber of Commerce’s press release dated 20th June. You can detect the frustration. I would like to see the new administration sit down with the stakeholders to discuss further. Please consult with the community before making a final decision!

By the way, Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett is holding a meeting in Negril to discuss the issue of crime and security – tomorrow (Friday June 24) at 1:30 p.m. at Swept Away Hotel. Negril residents and citizens are welcome to attend.

Negril beach erosion. (Photo: Gleaner)
Negril beach erosion. (Photo: Gleaner)

The Negril Chamber of Commerce are remaining resolute in their opposition to the proposed breakwater project for Negril. There have been statements made recently that we feel compelled to address.

First there is the new Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) Chairman stating “…the project should go ahead as it is detrimental to the sustainability of the seven-mile stretch of beach…”. Why would we want a detrimental project to be implemented? Perhaps this was an error of either the reporter or Mr. Walker but there has been no retraction or amendment of this statement.

We read that the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) and the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) have been asked to collaborate to address the erosion problem. The PIOJ is to prepare a note for the Cabinet. With all due respect, they both already collaborated without the input of a coastal engineer, made wrong decisions and did not consult with the community properly.

The Negril Chamber of Commerce has been in constant dialogue with the Dutch on this problem, and they are coming in July as requested by the Office of the Prime Minister to do another presentation of the alternative solutions to the erosion. Their solutions take in the entire stretch of 7 miles of beach and not just the up to 1.5 miles as the breakwater does. Local coastal engineers Smith Warner are also going to be working with Deltares from Holland on this holistic approach.

The bureaucrats in the Ministries are pushing for the breakwater as they don’t want to be embarrassed and claim Jamaica will lose the money. But they can always reapply to the Adaptation Fund for another project. It’s a pity that apparently they did not properly consult nor do due diligence before trying to foist this project on the community.

It appears there is confusion and a lack of communication in the new government but we trust that in July 2016, they will all come, listen and learn from experts before making unenlightened decisions for our community – decisions that have the potential to impact negatively on all of Jamaica.

For more information contact:

Mary Veira         cel  (875) 881-8698

Sophie Grizzle Roumel cel (876) 421-9899

Christine Cohen cel (876) 887-2891


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