Holness slams ‘concerted attempts’ to spread misinformation on environmental issues – Jamaica Observer

Prime Minister Andrew Holness (right) is greeted by Opposition Leader Mark Golding with a handshake following the former’s contribution to the 2022/23 Budget debate at Gordon House last Thursday. Looking up are Transport and Mines Minister Audley Shaw (left) and Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)

Prime Minister Andrew Holness said there had been a concerted attempt by “many politically motivated people” to spread misinformation about the environment and climate change work his administration has been undertaking, locally and internationally.

“I strongly believe that any objective assessment will show that this is the ‘greenest government’ since independence,” the prime minister told the House of Representatives in his contribution to the annual budget debate last Thursday. .

“I have said before and I will repeat it here today, sustainable economic growth cannot be achieved on the back of environmental degradation, and no inclusive prosperity can be impregnated with pollution,” Holness reminded his audience.

“I’m sure people know I’m a builder. I come from school of putting one block above another and creating great things. I am pro-development. My wife is a developer and I have development interests. It is a sign of great confidence in any government and economy, especially in a downturn, to see cranes hoisting our cities. It represents renewal and modernity. We must be careful not to stifle this transformative force for our economic development,” he said.

He however noted that he believed in orderly development and announced that the Urban and Rural Planning Authority, the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) and municipal corporations have been working together to prepare new parish development ordinances.

“Each parish is now covered by at least one provisional planning order. Nonetheless, I believe we can all agree that there is a concerted level of disorder in development in Jamaica. While the transformation of our skyline, business districts and residential communities is to be sustainable and aesthetically pleasing, it cannot be done in a haphazard manner,” he added.

Holness also noted that there are promoters who do not comply, “and while we do not comment on cases in court or on cases decided, the government is taking careful note of the issues raised.”

He said a common theme is the lack of oversight, inspection and enforcement, and following discussions with the head of NEPA and the mayor of Kingston, the number of officers will be increased and various solutions technologies used to improve surveillance, inspection and enforcement.

He said that in addition to improving co-ordination between the various development regulators, the amendment of the Planning Act 1957 will be expedited, with particular emphasis on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the approvals process, the application process and the public consultation process in the local area in which the development takes place.

“The Planning Act is implemented through the creation of various legal documents published in the Official Gazette, called Development Ordinances, which constitute public notice of the intent and direction of government policy on the parameters, form and function of development permitted in a parish or in a particular area of ​​a parish,” he says.

However, he said there needed to be more clarity and a closing of the loopholes in the legislation governing the development, particularly the approval process, and that there needed to be greater coordination and collaboration between the various agencies and branches of the government.

A file photo of the Cockpit Country. Cabinet has approved specific policy guidelines for declaring the boundaries of the Cockpit Country Protected Area, as well as environmental permits related to Special Mining Lease 173 to be issued to Noranda Bauxite Partners.