The Negril Chamber of Commerce (NCC) was, in a word, “thrilled” to receive a letter from the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) – the National Implementing Entity to the Adaptation Fund informing the Chamber that in June “the Cabinet approved a recommendation for the termination of Component 1 of the GOJ/AF Programme and all related activities.” This means that the proposed construction of two breakwaters (at a cost of $5.48 million of the total Jamaica applied for from the Adaptation Fund) to stem the erosion of the beach at Long Bay, Negril, will NOT be pursued. A Climate Risk Atlas for the community will, however, be completed, the letter informed NCC Chair Lee Issa.
As you will know if you have been following my blog, hoteliers and concerned residents have been campaigning (very hard) for over two years now for the plans to be scrapped. Here is the NCC’s press release. Below I have posted some photographs of the beach, taken by Mary Veira, which illustrates the campaigners’ argument rather well.
I am also SO happy at this news. I congratulate Mary Veira and Sophie Grizzle Roumel – two intrepid women who NEVER GAVE UP. They were supported by Diana McCaulay of Jamaica Environment Trust. It was also team work! Ms. Grizzle Roumel notes on Facebook: “It was a community effort, both local and international. We thank everyone for their sustained participation and support.” Well, it just goes to show the power of advocacy, persistence and strong leadership. Please note also the date of the meeting in Negril to discuss some possible alternatives (beach nourishment) with experts from the Netherlands-based Deltares Research Institute and others.
Please find the NCC’s press release, dated July 13, 2016, below:
The Negril Chamber of Commerce (NCC) is thrilled with the decision of the Cabinet to terminate the project to build two large breakwaters in Negril.
The majority of the community were against this project and remained resolute and persistent in voicing their concerns on the negative impacts this would have. The resistance started in February 2014 when it was first brought to the attention of the community via a Resort Board meeting. The group against the breakwaters held press conferences, community meetings, brought down coastal erosion experts and consulted with scientists and environmental groups around the world. There were numerous articles and letters in the press and appearances on television, radio programs and they utilized social media to spread the word. The pleas to stop this project fell on deaf ears and it was approved in December 2014.
That the Government of Jamaica (GoJ) is now willing to listen and explore the alternative options to combat beach erosion, speaks volumes and augurs well for the environment.
Beach erosion is not to be blamed solely on hurricanes and storms. Man too has contributed with the wanton disregard of protecting the environment and its vital role in having and keeping a thriving, successful tourism product, with the beach as its initial main attraction.
Some of the more appealing and holistic solutions are to be presented to the Government and their various agencies at a meeting on August 10, 2016 in Negril. The presentations will be by Deltares Research Institute, the NatureCoast Consortium and Biorock.
The NCC looks forward to a productive meeting and partnering with the GoJ on the projects that will create sustainable and environmentally sound solutions to erosion in Negril.
For more information contact:
Mary Veira firstname.lastname@example.org
Sophie Grizzle Roumel email@example.com cel 421 9899
Christine Cohen firstname.lastname@example.org cel 887 2891
These photos speak for themselves – all of the same spot on Negril Beach. Campaigners, who have been observing the beach over decades, have always maintained that the beach restores itself naturally. NCC Chairman Lee Issa recently pointed to the example of Hurricane Gilbert in 1988 (one of the most destructive storms in recent times); the beach returned to normal after six months. For more news on Negril and its environmental and development issues, go to the Negril Pulse page on Facebook.