KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – Jamaican Mining Minister Robert Montague, has dismissed reports of mining taking place within the boundaries of the proposed Cockpit Country Protected Area in central Jamaica.
Making his contribution in the 2019/20 Sectoral Debate in the Parliament on Tuesday, Montague said, “There is no mining and there is no plan for that. I will be the first to admit that since the Prime Minister clearly told this House about those proposed boundaries, enough communication in a simple and clear manner, mining has not occurred,” Montague said.
“The Forestry Department is currently physically marking the boundaries on the ground. They have, so far, hosted four community meetings, but more is needed and more will be held,” he added.
Montague was responding to recent comments in the media that suggested mining is taking place closer and closer to the boundary of the protected area.
He said he will continue to facilitate dialogue and has instructed that a strong program of community engagement be started immediately.
The Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) recently said that it is concerned that the proposed boundaries do not protect all communities within the Cockpit Country from mining activities.
It also said there has been no response to its requests for information about the basis on which the Forestry Department determined the boundaries.
The Cockpit Country is Jamaica’s largest remaining contiguous rainforest. It is also home to the Jamaica Swallowtail, the largest butterfly in the Western hemisphere.