Puerto Bueno Mountain: “This Decision Cannot Be Allowed To Stand,” Says JET


I wrote about this yesterday – please take a look for a bit more detail. Meanwhile, Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) has just posted the following press release:

“This Decision Cannot Be Allowed to Stand,” Says JET

The Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) is disturbed by the decision of the Hon. Minister without Portfolio Leslie Campbell to overturn the denial of an environmental permit by the environmental technical agencies, the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) and the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) for quarrying in a vital natural resource on Jamaica’s north coast at Bengal, St. Ann. Despite solid and substantiated reasons given to deny the permit, this new decision will allow quarrying and mining to go ahead in the area. The reasons given by NRCA/NEPA for their decision were:

1.     The proposed development is contrary and not in keeping with the provisions of the St. Ann Confirmed Development Order, 2000.

2.     The area is not a designated quarry zone.

3.     A quarry of this nature, size, scale and intensity will have a deleterious effect on the environment in general and the surrounding uses including impact and loss of biodiversity and natural resources, and impact on underground hydrology.

4.     The development will exacerbate the air quality impacts on the air shed. Also, the development may have a deleterious impact on public health particularly from dust and noise generation.

5.     The unprecedented number of objections from residents and stakeholders.

6.     The comments from key partner, the Forestry Department, that while the environmental impact assessment “explores the impact of the quarrying operations, it does not propose feasible and effective mitigation measures geared towards minimizing the overall negative impact of the quarry on the forested areas.”

The impact of limestone quarrying in Jamaica. I have more photos that I can dig up. There is hardly anything left of one mountain near Harbour View.

JET has long raised concerns about the provision in the NRCA Act (and many of our laws) that allows for a minister to overturn the decisions of a technical agency.

JET also understands that there is now lack of clarity as to who the environmental minister is, as despite there being a new ministry including “environment and climate change” in the title, led by the Hon. Pearnel Charles, Jr, NEPA remains at the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, whose minister is the Prime Minister, the Most Hon Andrew Holness. We further understand environmental functions are spread across the two ministries, which will no doubt lead to even greater regulatory incoherence.

“I have seen the environmental ministry move many times from place to place since the passing of the NRCA Act in 1991, to the point where it has been labelled the “Pilgrim” ministry,” said JET Director, Diana McCaulay. “This refusal to place priority on environmental protection over almost 30 years by both administrations speaks volumes about their sincerity and real intentions. Given the reality of the climate crisis, which Jamaica is already facing, we cannot continue with these short-sighted approaches.”  

JET calls on the Prime Minister, who we understand signed off on the upholding of the developer’s appeal, to reverse this misuse of ministerial discretion.

Beautiful Puerto Bueno Mountain, St. Ann, from the sea. (Photo: Wendy Lee)

10 thoughts on “Puerto Bueno Mountain: “This Decision Cannot Be Allowed To Stand,” Says JET

  1. The current devastation by water across our nation now should tell any uneducated person that if you dig down the mountains across this country you will be overcome by flooding at some point. Unfortunately the people making the decision to make money off our limestone do not care about the here-after-they-go, but we must not look at what is happening which maybe foreboding the future and allow them to get away with such foolishness. Leave our mountains alone.  They are what speaks to the majesty of our nation and like the waters that we have so polluted, they make us beautiful enough for the world to admire and want to visit. Leave it as you came and saw it, if you can do nothing to improve it then leave it and only view it because it’s not for you but for the purpose of causing another generation of Jamaicans to love this land. Can’t you hear the heartsong:JCDC Jamaica Land of Beauty.mp4

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    Kindness,

    Yvonne O. Coke    `

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  2. Dear Mr Minister,
    This is dumb.
    The place name Dry Harbour for a reason, no rains. Currently the dust from the developments is unbearable. We observe these as temporary. I can invite you to my home to verify this everyday. History recalls the problem with residents when the highway was being built. That was temporary too.

    Please show us what the company provided you in their appeal that convinced you to ignore NEPA. I’m suggesting that we all withhold our property taxes til you do.

    Your decision shows that you have no faith in NEPA, the agency that provide you with technical information.
    Sir, upgrade them or fire them all.
    Then in our interest, recruit the persons that presented you such a wonderful and convincing argument(s).

    It’s gonna take an estimated J$321M to fix a piece of road in St Mary.

    I’m no actuary, but please show us how J$40M to restore damages expected in the future.

    And finally sir, mi a beg you, Don’t withdraw us from the Paris agreement.

    ps. Don’t kill my dreams, I migrated from Kingston to the area for the same reason.

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    1. I am quite sure Jamaica would never withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Heaven forbid! However, you make some good points about the roads, the cost, the dust etc… Thank you for your comments!

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  3. It is one of the last two habitats of the yellow snake. It has existed just as it is since the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria sailed into view – one of the very few areas undisturbed since then. An Arawak burial cave was discovered and filled in when the Kaiser drying plant was built, there may be other artifacts. Every now and then, an area should be selected and kept pristine….no houses, no businesses and no quarries. One by one we have seen unique areas destroyed, I do think this one should remain untouched, an area of national significance. And I mean PROTECTED, from everything. if further argument is needed, Discovery Bay/Rio Buena is developing as a significant tourism destination, why sully the landscape with a dusty, noisy, ugly quarry? And lastly the arguments the NRCA put forward to justify allowing the appeal vary little from the standard provisions, and will not be enforced, as we know from bitter experience. They asked, the people spoke and have not been heard.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for this information and I might use this in my next blog… I am going to write some more. I worry always about the Taino caves that would always be destroyed by limestone quarrying. No, the NRCA did not have anything to do with allowing the appeal – they were overruled by the Minister, in this case the PM it seems. So they are not to blame here. But of course they won’t be able to impose strict conditions – on mining?? That’s impossible!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. WTF!!! These MP’s get thrown at portfolio’s without regard for any expertise. Just fill a gap, whether as return favor, pledge of loyalty or sheer expedience. SO bloody endemic in both JLP and PNP administrations.

    I like this albeit anonymous blogger’s recommendations to changing the JA constitution.

    https://theterribletout.wordpress.com/2020/07/19/minister-without-consequence/ [https://theterribletout.files.wordpress.com/2020/08/cropped-andrew-put-on-the-tie-1.jpg?w=200] MINISTER WITHOUT CONSEQUENCE? | The Terrible Tout’s Weblog So the game of musical ministers continues apace. Daryl Vaz, “Minister without Portfolio” in OPM’s Environment “Ministry”, was reportedly “stripped” of his “portfolio” responsibilities and sent to “Ministry” of Water (also within OPM) at identical salary and perks. Leslie Campbell who had been promoted to Environment (replacing Daryl) stayed there for a minute before being… theterribletout.wordpress.com

    LMCG Sent from my iPhone, excuse my brevity and typos.

    ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it is a tendency. It is ridiculous. This constant shuffling around like chess pieces…and they all end up in the Office of the Prime Minister, somehow. So frankly, he appears to be accountable. As for “Terrible Tout” – he is not anonymous, he is Gordon Robinson, a retired attorney at law and newspaper columnist who is also a horse racing expert (hence his name!) More to follow, I believe…

      Liked by 1 person

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