Text Box: “If we do not care our environment, we will not get vibrant growth of these types in future”
 Vince Hines

‘Eco Watch’

A simple message:

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Text Box: A campaign has been ranging for months on the Island of Jamaica, one of the Caribbean’s ‘tropical paradise’,  to save ‘Cockpit Country’ an area of natural beauty, situated in Trelany, Western Jamaica. 

On the face of it, the battle seems to be between local residents; but in reality, it is between  big foreign business involved in Jamaica’s Tourist and Mining Industries.

Eco warriors got involved because there are genuine concerns for the ecology of Cockpit Country.

The Cockpit Country is a rugged, forested area, rich in biodiversity and cultural heritage. The area encompasses the largest remaining intact wet limestone forest in Jamaica, which is of outstanding ecological importance to the island. Its landscape of steep-sided hills and deep, round valleys eroded from the limestone bedrock is the world’s most outstanding example of karst topography.
The Cockpit Country, regarded by environmentalists as a home to thousands of rare plants and animals.

The Campaign

Leading the Campaign to ‘save Cockpit Country’ is The Cockpit Country Stakeholders Group (CCSG), Members said they are seeking information: “We want to know exactly what is planned for Cockpit Country and where. We fear that if any mining is allowed, this will be used as a precursor to more extensive mining. We are concerned that investors will require an adequate return on their investment, and will therefore want to mine as widely as possible.”

CCSG continued: “We have written to the Commissioner of Mines, the Chairman of the Jamaica Bauxite Institute and the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands requesting information on what is planned for Cockpit Country. We have so far not received a definitive reply. We have also copied our letters to the Minister of Local Government and the Environment, the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA), and the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA).”

Jamaica is a relatively poor developing country. Its primary sources of income are Tourism and Bauxite Mining. Indeed, Tourism is already Jamaica's Number One source of foreign exchange. Jamaica is known and appreciated the world over as a prime tourism destination. 
“Tourism – if carefully planned and developed with real, quality-of-life benefits in mind for local people – is renewable and sustainable,” said CCSG.
It is the campaigners’ views that, “Bauxite mining is non-renewable, final and therefore not sustainable. Jamaica is facing a choice between conserving and managing Cockpit Country as a world-class tropical forest and wildlife reserve – a UNESCO World Heritage Site enjoyed by thousands of locals and visitors every year for generations to come – or a sterile wasteland of so-called restored pits, with a few goats and cows grazing under the scorching sun, its biodiversity and cultural heritage permanently erased.”

CCSG claimed “full support of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association on this Campaign, and if Jamaica has to choose between unsustainable bauxite mining and sustainable tourism, so be it.”
 
Text Box: Jamaica’s Eco Warriors Call for Support in Their Fight  Against Bad Environmental Practices

All pictures were taken in Jamaica—most recently

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Last up-dated 22nd August 2006

 

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