Stakeholders Petition Jamaica House to Save Cockpit Country


As I mentioned recently, Jamaica House has opened a new petition portal – rather like President Obama’s White House petition page. Jamaica Environment Trust and a range of civil society/environmental advocates have opened a  petition to Save Cockpit Country. Yes, I have written about this many times before, and there have been public consultations, many articles written. The residents of the area (including the Maroons) have trekked to Kingston to lobby Government offices.

Residents of Cockpit Country attend a meeting in Kingston at the end of a long day visiting Government offices, in September 2015. (My photo)

We must support the Cockpit Country Stakeholders Group! The petition needs MANY more signatures in the next 30 days, – not much time – so do sign and share the petition widely with all your contacts at home and abroad! We need this to “go viral”…

Scroll down a little to find the petition here.

Remember you need to confirm your email after you have signed (so it’s two very quick steps).
95 per cent of Jamaica’s population of the endangered Black-Billed Parrot lives in the Cockpit Country. (Photo: Wendy Lee)
The Cockpit Country is a precious area of our island that should remain untouched. At this moment, everything is still up in the air, as the Government has still not divulged its long awaited decision on the “boundaries”… For background information you can check several blog posts and websites:
http://cockpitcountry.com is Windsor Research Centre’s website.

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20170406/cockpit-country-indecision  “The decision is made,” said PM Holness back in April. “it is just the technical issues that are being worked out.”

We need to nurture and protect our natural and cultural heritage (and an incredibly important water resource) and also protect the environmental rights of residents – please do sign and share. 
The riches of the Martha Brae River in Trelawny – water flowing in abundance in Cockpit Country. (My photo)
Here is the stakeholders’ press release:

Following the launch of a new petition portal by Jamaica House, civil society groups and concerned individuals have uploaded a Save Cockpit Country petition, which can be found at http://opm.gov.jm/participate/jamaica-house-petition/

The Jamaica House portal requires a minimum of 15,000 signatures in 30 days before the Government of Jamaica will consider and respond to the petition.

The petition calls on the Prime Minister to establish the boundary of Cockpit Country to include hydrology, geomorphology, biological diversity, culture and history and points to the Cockpit Country Stakeholders Group (CCSG) boundary as being the only boundary which takes in all these factors.  The petition goes on to ask the Prime Minister to close Cockpit Country to mining, quarrying and prospecting in accordance with the community consultations already held and the recommendations of the University of the West Indies boundary study completed in 2013, and declare the region a National Park.

Cockpit Country is under immediate threat from bauxite mining, which would remove forest cover, block and pollute waterways, displace residents, threaten agricultural livelihoods, compromise air quality and threaten the health and wellbeing of thousands of Jamaican citizens.

For over a decade the Government of Jamaica has delayed defining a boundary for Cockpit Country but a decision about this important matter is likely to be taken soon.

BirdsCaribbean’s Caribbean Birding Trail guide training in the Cockpit Country has greatly enhanced eco-tourism in Jamaica. All of this is at risk if bauxite mining goes ahead. (Photo: BirdsCaribbean/Facebook)

Cockpit Country is the largest remaining natural forest in Jamaica. The fresh water it stores and releases via almost 40 rivers, streams, springs, upwellings, glades and ponds supplies about 40% of Western Jamaica’s water needs. Jamaica is facing major negative impacts from Global Climate Change – unpredictable rainfall, and extreme weather events including drought. Ensuring the preservation of Cockpit Country promotes climate resilience, is an investment in the future, and literally means fresh water in the bank.

Cockpit Country is a symbol of resistance and triumph, as well as an important cultural and historical site for Jamaicans. It was here that the Maroons fought the British to a Treaty in 1738-9. Cockpit Country was a sanctuary for the Maroons, who still live within its borders.

The plants and animals of Cockpit Country are extraordinarily diverse. Some are found only in Jamaica, and others, especially a multitude of plants, are found only in Cockpit Country. This area is also an important ecotourism destination, especially for birdwatching.

The Save Cockpit Country campaign is asking all concerned Jamaicans to sign the petition.

Contact:

Diana McCaulay, CEO, Jamaica Environment Trust, 469-1315

Carol Narcisse, civil society advocate, 430-4705

Wendy Lee, Seven Oaks Sanctuary for Wildlife, 359-1505 or 808-1657

Cockpit Country

 

 

 


53 thoughts on “Stakeholders Petition Jamaica House to Save Cockpit Country

  1. Save Jamaica’s Cockpit Country it is home to so many indigenous plants and animals. We need to pay attention to our beautiful island and protect it the best way we know how. Go for it patriotic Jamaicans.

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    1. I am disappointed that our national government and for that matter both political parties have allowed the bauxite company to environmentally rape our country and leave future generation improvished.When I found out the plans for cockpit country I was incensed and I am trying to mobilised the expat in the uk to sign the petition and also to let their voices heard.
      Please not their is no link to sign petition on what’s app.

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      1. Oh, that is a good question about WhatsApp. Thank you for trying to mobilise Jamaicans in the UK. I too am disappointed, but you know… It has been on the cards for a long time now.

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  2. This is a national heritage , home to a special group of people , birds that are endogenous to the area . Not to
    Mention the water shed /basin . We need to protect it at all cost .

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  3. My heart sinks knowing that we have to petition against this, where is common sense? Please for the future of our children & grandchildren keep this beautiful place as it always has been. I love out island in the sun.

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    1. Indeed, it seems common sense to me. But greed has taken over, and not only in Jamaica. Future generations, if there are any, will hate us for it. I am afraid it will be our downfall.

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  4. why is this petition not on Instagram? I would love to share and reach more persons but only FB and twitter? Come on. This should be on every social media site. The media isn’t even covering this story. For the love of country, Why?! sigh

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    1. It is on Instagram. Follow @jamentrust1991 and the link is on their account. In fact if you search it has been shared many times on Instagram by others. Also I hope you have looked at the website: savecockpitcountry.org

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      1. Hi Petchary,

        Thank you for the website address. Very informative video. Hopefully, all the persons/landowners band together and not sell their lands to the mining company. We are all stakeholders though. We all drink water. We all breathe and need clean air. Some of the very produce we buy from Coronation market or wherever, are from the fringes of the cockpit country. Thank you for the work you and others have done and are doing to highlight this impending “disaster”. Hopefully, we can avoid it all together by the grace of God and the help of our people.
        ‘Eternal Father, bless our land and guide us with thy mighty hand. Keep us free from evil powers…’

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      2. Thank you so much for your comments, Erica. Clean water, clean air, good food from unpolluted soil – yes, we certainly do all have a stake in that. I hope people understand this, although it’s not always easy to make the connections, I know. Thank you (and also for the quote, which is as we know, a prayer). Let us keep going, and hope for the best.

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    1. Well, the issue has been dragging on for years due to the indecisiveness of more than one administration! Yes, it does seem ridiculous that we have to sign a petition. BUT – please do it anyway. This will send a signal to decision makers that this is still very much on our radar. STILL.

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  5. My view is as Jamaicans we do not come out in support of major issues on these matters of importance. these issues are not highlighted enough in the mainstream until deadlines or nearly reach. matters like these are to be highlighted from an early stage as majority of people has not got internet or enough knowledge or awareness about our environment. If we do not succeed with this petition we should be willing to go on marches of protest on our governments to let them know how we feel about these matters. Not everything they need to selloff we have not really benefited from any of these projects no houses, schools, hospitals or libraries built. That is my view’s and thoughts. it would be good to target young people who use social sites and people with no computer experience to use supermarkets, main shops and libraries to sign these petition.

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    1. I agree – Jamaicans are not used to the idea of online petitions. But that can change. It’s not an ingrained thing… But I agree, these issues are not highlighted enough in the mainstream media, who are largely focused on A) politics and B) crime. And a scandal or two. I do believe though that environmental awareness is growing in Jamaica, and that this will be even more strengthened by the hurricanes this year, for example. People are starting to give it some thought. You don’t have to have internet to see for yourself in rural areas – droughts, flooding, fewer fish in the sea etc. It is easy to see that our environment is under stress and that it is affecting people’s livelihoods and lifestyles too. Also more people have access to internet even if they don’t have computers at home or work. People use their mobile phones, community centres, libraries etc. There are even wifi hotspots in Kingston and in some places outside. I absolutely agree with you, though. We need to take action, and we are trying to reach out and target young people who do have access. Thank you for your thoughts – and please share the petition!

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  6. The COCKPIT COUNTRY
    Meandering Up Firtile Hill-Side
    Christened With Morning Dew
    Whistling Frogs In Lime-Stone Crags
    Seemed To Be Playing Me A Tune
    ***
    I Stood Motionless
    Eyes Sweeping Rugged Mountain Range
    Dense Bush And Whinding Trails I Roamed In My Youth
    ***
    And Suddenly
    I Longed For The Sweet Smell Of Log-Wood Blooms
    After Cooling Rain To Feel And Hear Crunching Leaves Under Foot When The Sun Came
    ***
    To Yell Aloud At The Wild Tarrian
    And Wait For It To Yell Back At Me
    How Strange…

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  7. As a native of Trelawny and an Environmental Policy scholar, I have to defend my parish. No mining please. Do not disturb the ecosystem! The nations physical geography is our gift. DO not sell our children’s birthright; it cannot be replaced, it cannot be bought back. The monetary gain is nothing compared to the value and the damage that would have been done. Stop being strangers in your own land.

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  8. Stop all mining on the island, preserve what is left. Absolutely no more mining. Mining companies in Jamaica, PLEASE GET OFF THE ISLAND.

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  9. Stop all mining on the island, preserve what is left. Absolutely no more mining. Mining companies in Jamaica, PLEASE GET OFF THE ISLAND.

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    1. Mining is the single most destructive activity for the environment, anywhere. And we are a small island. It is like a monster. Areas that have been mined never recover. The soil, landscape, ecosystem has changed…

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  10. It’s not often I hear of something environmentally aware before reading your blog posts. I’m proud to say I’m keeping up for once since I had signed and shared the petition already. 🙃 Thousands of signatures in 30 days is a tall order but I really hope it’s achieved. I’ve only been there once and I need even my children’s children to find it the way it is today

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    1. Hi Rochelle: Oh, I’m glad you were aware of it already – in fact, the whole issue has been dragging on for the best part of a decade, without any Government wanting to make a decision on it. Yes, 15,000 is a tall order, but we hope everyone will share and multiply the numbers! I have been there a few times – greatest memory is of the beautiful Martha Brae River flowing so fast and deep! The Cockpit Country supplies about 40 per cent of our freshwater. Yes, why shouldn’t future generations benefit from its beauty and bounty?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much, Rochelle! Yes – I do actually believe in that proverb! It can be effective. Or if you like, “one one coco full basket”… 🙂

        Like

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