Prime Minister Andrew Holness is sending a strong message, assuring the Jamaican Diaspora that there is no trade-off between the environment and the economy.
The Prime Minister said Jamaica is a country of laws and due process, particularly regarding the environment. According to Prime Minister Holness, there are false notions being spread in the Diaspora about the issues surrounding the Cockpit Country. In that regard, Prime Minister Holness noted that the Government is carefully going through due process to resolve the matter.
He was speaking during a radio interview on IrieJam 360 yesterday (Thursday, September 28) in New York.
“There can be however no trade-off between the environment and the economy. The environment always comes first. So, the issue is how do we use our environment in a sustainable way for economic gain and that cannot happen without proper analysis and investigation so the Government is exploring other areas where there may be reserves for bauxite where there may be the potential for the company that is interested in mining in those particular areas, to be mined elsewhere. So we are looking at all those possibilities,” said Prime Minister Holness.
In that regard, the Prime Minister underscored that the government he leads has been environmentally sensitive and protective. He noted that it is important for the Government to clarify those issues that sometimes bring unnecessary negative attention to the country.
“The Government that I lead is now investing millions of dollars – US dollars in the rehabilitation of watersheds and the Government that I lead will in a few days launch a massive tree planting programme where we will be planting over four million trees in Jamaica. So, I totally reject any form of suggestion that the Government is insensitive to the environment and I totally reject any movement which would want to suggest that the Government would allow mining in any environmentally or ecologically sensitive area. There are those who would want to protest – protesting, that is our democratic right and that is good that people can hold their government to account and I believe that people should be informed before they go out and do anything that could be destructive to Jamaica’s reputation,” said Prime Minister Holness.
At the same time, the Prime Minister called on the Diaspora to be good messengers for Jamaica.
“I challenge the Diaspora to look to build up the country; to be good messengers for Jamaica; to support the good efforts being made by the Government and yes to hold the Government to account. But don’t look for causes, for causes sake, look for what we can do to build our country,” stated Prime Minister Holness.
In the meantime, the Prime Minister said the Government continues to invest heavily in the country’s infrastructure through Major Infrastructural Development Project.
“We are building infrastructure to last the country for the next 50 years and promote a new phase of economic and social development. Yes there is still challenges, many challenges in Jamaica but I think that it is now time that we as Jamaicans own our country, own our successes and take a positive view of our country regardless of which political party is in power that we don’t try to tear down but let’s try to build up for once. Let us unite around the good agenda, let us unite around the Jamaica agenda and promote Jamaica, it’s one Jamaica for all of us.”