Jamaica Environmetnal Trust & Bahia
Though satisfied with the recent court ruling which allows Hotels Jamaica Piñero Limited to restart construction, Diana McCaulay, chief executive officer of JET, said yesterday, concerns still exist.
“We are deeply concerned that it appears the coral reefs at Pear Tree Bottom are not currently being adequately monitored or protected and there are credible reports of damage by siltation,” Ms. McCaulay said. “More broadly, we are concerned about the sale and development of Jamaica’s coastline in an unsustainable manner.”
She added: “It appears the Government intends to pursue Cancun-style, high-density, high-impact development along the coast, effectively denying Jamaicans access to our own coastline.”
JET was one of the organisations that brought court action against the environmental agencies that approved the building permit for the hotel in Pear Tree Bottom, St. Ann.
On June 23, Justice Bryan Sykes modified an earlier court ruling, this time giving the developers the go-ahead to continue construction of the 1,918-room hotel.
Ms. McCaulay suggested yesterday that enforcement of laws by environmental regulatory agencies has been lax. She said JET would continue to monitor the construction of the Bahía Priñcipe development as well as other large-scale development projects.
The environmental activist questioned why a Planning Institute of Jamaica-commissioned study on the infrastructural, social and economic impacts of large hotels on the north coast which, though completed in July 2005, was never released to the public.
“Presumably, this study was funded by taxpayers and JET requests that it be released immediately,” she said.
But despite these concerns, Ms. McCaulay said JET was satisfied with the court ruling, noting that the case was fairly and thoroughly reviewed.