The PSOJ notes recent reports about the Bengal development plans in St. Ann and believes that no singular organization should benefit from the perception of preferential treatment and exemptions from stated rules and that due process must be followed to bolster transparency and accountability.
We are advocating for strong adherence to the preconditions set out by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), and transparency regarding the payments of performance bonds along with environmental controls including proper dust and water management plans. We believe that these protocols were crafted by capable technocrats within the sector to strike an effective balance between economic development and environmental protection.
Other considerations regarding this development include the potential conflict with our island’s tourism product and growing resort investments which may be more real than perceived or contemplated. The surrounding residential communities will also be negatively impacted by environmental factors. The cost to maintain and repair the road network infrastructure due to the heightened trucking of aggregate along the North Coast Highway is also of concern.
Any previous steps to promote harmony between economic development and environmental protection, which are now both vested within the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation being led by the Office of the Prime Minister, will not be well-served if one concern over-rides the other with disregard for technical input of specialists.