The organisers of the Save Cockpit Country petition have no interest in an illegitimate process.
I know National Integrity Action, among other organisations, has thrown its support behind the campaign, which may partly account for a surge in signatures. The increased number of signatures (currently at 12,569 signatures – 83.79% of the required 15,000) is due to a “step up” in campaigning and the announcement of Save Cockpit Country Day today, to raise awareness. [See Point #2, below].
Please read this press release from Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) carefully. It points out the numerous glitches (“teething pains”) on the Jamaica House petition portal, that signatories have had to be patient with. It is an excellent idea, nevertheless.
For those who don’t know… the Save Cockpit Country campaign has been going, at varying levels of intensity, for the past eleven years or more. It has never gone away, not for years. Successive administrations have dragged their feet on the issue (which, in my view and that of many others, should not have been an “issue” in the first place). This is nothing new. The petition site is pretty new, and a good way of expressing the concerns of many Jamaicans.
And one more thing: If you do not have Internet access or are still having difficulty signing the petition online, PLEASE deliver your petition/signature in hard copy to JET at 123 Constant Spring Road, Unit 5, Kingston 8.
Please see JET’s press release, below…
Friday, September 22, 2017
RESPONSE FROM THE JAMAICA ENVIRONMENT TRUST ON THE SAVE COCKPIT COUNTRY PETITION BEING TAKEN OFFLINE
A Save Cockpit Country petition was launched by the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) using the Office of the Prime Minister’s (OPM’s) online petition portal on August 21, 2017. The petition’s target is to attract 15,000 signatures by the deadline set by the OPM site – September 30, 2017.
At approximately 3:30pm on Thursday, September 21, 2017, the OPM petition portal went offline. A statement made by a representative of the OPM this morning on radio implied that the site was taken offline because “automatic signing” had been detected. The representative also indicated that the signatures in question were going to be removed.
The following is a statement from JET:
- JET has run an organized, legitimate save Cockpit Country campaign and has not participated in, nor encouraged any hacking or automatic signing.
- We were not surprised by the increase in pace of signing this week as we knew of several campaign efforts carried out on September 18 – Facebook advertising paid for by a supporter of the campaign, Whatsapp messaging and other social media posts from Jamaicans.com. A Save Cockpit Country Day (September 22) was also announced through several media partners earlier this week.
- Since launching the Save Cockpit Country petition on the OPM site, there have been several problems reported to us by people who wished to sign:
- Signatories needed an email address – many Jamaicans are online, with social media accounts, but have no email address.
- Confirmation emails from the OPM petition portal went to SPAM folders
- Many persons who signed did not get confirmation emails
- When some people filled in the fields of the online petition form and clicked ‘Sign now’, the screen went blank
- There was lack of clarity as to what constituted a Jamaican citizen on the OPM petition portal site. JET does not agree that Jamaican residents or Jamaicans outside of Jamaica should be excluded from signing the petition using the OPM portal.
- Despite the problems outlined in point 3, JET emphasized to campaign supporters that the OPM petition portal was a new mechanism, there were bound to be teething pains, and people should exercise patience and keep trying to add their names to the online petition.
- JET has no interest in an illegitimate process. This would only harm any effort of the Save Cockpit Country campaign, which JET has been involved in since 2006. JET used the OPM petition portal – a new Government of Jamaica (GOJ) participatory mechanism, and the social media tools available to us to let the GOJ know that a large number of Jamaicans do not want mining in Cockpit Country. The Government’s own consultant concluded the same thing in a published report in 2013: https://savecockpitcountry.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/cockpit-country-boundary-consultation-report-2013-fin.pdf
The OPM portal was brought back online at approximately 9:00am on Friday, September 22. The Save Cockpit Country online petition is now live. JET encourages all Jamaicans to sign the petition today online at http://opm.gov.jm/participate/jamaica-house-petition/sign-petition/?pet=18 or in hard copy at JET’s office, 123 Constant Spring Road, Unit 5, Kingston 8
Suzanne Stanley, Deputy CEO, Jamaica Environment Trust
960-3693 or 470-7580