jamaica patriotic movement

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GOAT ISLANDS & PORTLAND BIGHT MUST BE PROTECTED......


The purpose & agreement of the Goat Islands was to eliminate all invasive predatory species off of the islands and to use the islands as a sanctuary for the critically endangered Jamaican Iguana(IUCN Red list). This has been the plans of the Jamaican Iguana Recovery Program as there are 2 major dry limestone forests within the PBPA, (Hellshire Hills & Goat Islands). The dry limestone forest is the only place in the world where the Jamaican Iguana can be found.

 

The Jamaican Iguana was thought to be extinct in the 1940's until the late 90’s when a hunters dog located a male. After searching the area 2 years later a female was found and thus the Jamaican Iguana Recovery Program began.  

 

Scores of dedicated people go into the Hellshire Hills to retrieve the young new hatched Iguana, take them to Hope Zoo to raise them so that they are large enough to survive predators and then release them back into the wild. The Jamaican Iguana has proven very difficult to breed & hatch in captivity and it has only been within the last year that only 2 have been hatched at San Diego Zoo Global & Fort Worth Zoo. To date over 300 Jamaican Iguana have been placed back into the wild making the Jamaican Iguana one of the best success stories of species recovery. The Portland Bight was designated a legally protected area in 1999 & is under several international agreements.
 
The waters around the Goat Islands /PBPA are also home to critically endangered & endangered species. (There are estimated to be 20 species of plant, animal, & marine life that fall in the IUCN red list for endangered species within the PBPA. The Jamaican Government wants to sell the Goat Islands and part of the PBPA to China state owned CHEC (China Harbour Development Co.) to develop a transshipping hub. The shipping hub would be able to handle the newest & largest versions of shipping vessels. ( container ships able to carry an estimated 20,000+ containers.)

 

The Goat Islands are approximately 900 sq acres combined, the shipping hub is purposed to be 3000-9000 acres. Dredging of the PBPA would have to be extensive as the massive ships would not have deep enough water to get to the port. There is also the issue of possible invasive species & contamination from ballast water from these ships coming into the PBPA. Leveling the islands, dredging, building roads, bridges, power plants,removal of species, destruction of mangrove and wetlands in an already suffering ecosystem would send the entire PBPA into a non-recoverable status.

 

Currently there are more than 80 international & national agreements and laws that protect the area that would have to be vacated or overturned in order to develop the Goat Islands/PBPA into a transshipping hub which some members of the Government are working hard to bypass or overturn without public or stakeholder input. Currently there are 3 fish sanctuaries within the PBPA to help restore the marine life that has been depleted from over fishing & the use of dynamite as a means of capturing marine life for food. 


Oct 2013, at the request of a few members of Parliament, a “Scoping Study” done by Environmental Engineer Dr. Conrad Douglas & Assoc. of the PBPA/Goat Islands was delivered to Parliament.


 Within the study where flawed names of species as well as misquotes from IUCN and several other outrageous mistakes in the study. Environmentalist railed against the study and published a scientific report pointing out all the flaws of the study. We have asked for it’s removal from Parliament as a guiding tool to move forward on the project to no avail.

 

Dr. Douglas upon hearing and reading the critique of his study said that he would have an immediate response, to which he has never done. What he has said about his study is that “The public does not know what a “scoping study” is and that it is not a full EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment). He stands by his study to advance to the next stage of development of the PBPA, and that is the information that member of parliament are relying on.


 As of late the UNESCO designated the PBPA as a biosphere (Nov. 2013). The application & study took some 8 years to complete. The Government of Jamaica signed off on the application. As of Dec 2013 early Jan 2014. The Minister charged with protecting the environment send a letter to UNESCO asking for a deferral on the Biosphere, stating that the GOJ wanted to revisit the boundaries of the Biosphere. Everyone concerned has seen this as a closer move to level the area for the Transshipping hub and a total disregard of not only the protected status agreements, but also with the possible destruction of a national heritage site.

 

(Tinao tribe inhabited the PBPA area, cave paintings done by the tribe are located on Great Goat Islands as well as other places in the PBPA. Evidence also shows that the Tinao used Great Goat Islands as a burial ground. A full archeological assessment of the area has not been completed).

 

We are starting to gain support with our campaign to save the Goat Islands/PBPA within the opposition leaders of the government. They are calling on the current administration to come clean about the CHEC deal and show not only them, but the public the agreement(s), which they have not done (there is a total lack of transparency regarding the PBPA in spite of legal requests and Jamaica law to consult with the public). 

 

We urge the world community to raise their voices and let it be known that the destruction of a highly bio diverse area & heritage site is not okay. Say NO! to Port on Goat Islands, Jamaica.
 
 
 
Supportive data:
April 2013 Caribbean Coastal Area Management:
Climate Change Risk Assessment Report: Portland Bight Protected Area”
Prepared by Climate Studies Group, Mona (Jamaica) University of the West Indies
For: Caribbean Coastal Areas Management Foundation (C-CAM)
 
Oct. 2013

ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT SCOPING
of
THE PORTLAND BIGHT AREA, Inclusive of
THE GOAT ISLANDS
By Conrad Douglas & Associates
For: Port of Jamaica
 
IUCN RED list: (Jamaica)
www.iucnredlist.org/
 
UNEP (United Nations Environmental Protection): Jamaica
Ramsar Convention on Wetlands: www.ramsar.org
 
UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, & Cultural Organization) http://en.unesco.org/
 
THE GOAT ISLANDS / PORTLAND BIGHT PROTECTED AREA
THE PROPOSED SITE FOR A TRANSHIPMENT PORT IN JAMAICA
December 2013 (briefing paper prepared by C-CAM/JET)

Jamaica Patriot

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This is an attempt to create a revolutionary movement to arrest the social decline of our country and reverse foreign domination of our economic and political life through the co-operation of our two political parties.

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