(JAMAICA OBSERVER) — Approximately 200 people marched to Gordon House in downtown Kingston yesterday, to demonstrate against prospective mining in adjoining sections of the Cockpit Country.
The march was led by the Cockpit Country Stakeholders’ Group (CCSG), representatives of which delivered a petition calling on the Government of Jamaica to accept the boundary they proposed in 2009 as the official outer boundary of the Cockpit Country.
A cover letter addressed to Prime Minister Andrew Holness read: “We call on you, the prime minister of Jamaica, to do this on behalf of the residents of the areas excluded from the ‘designated protected area’ announced in 2017, and on behalf of all people who value the irreplaceable wildlife, scenic landscapes, history, cultural heritage, ecosystem services, traditional livelihoods such as farming, and expanding ecotourism opportunities that these areas provide.”
“We seek protection for the Cockpit Country in its entirety, because all the areas that were included within the CCSG boundary were recognised as integral parts of the Cockpit Country — hydrologically connected, culturally and historically significant, economically valuable for sustainable livelihoods, and of national ecological importance, not only in terms of biodiversity but in ecosystem services such as underground water resources,” it read.
An attached petition was endorsed by 3,901 people, who signed the ‘Save Cockpit Country’ online petition in 2009, as well as another 37,568 citizens and residents of Jamaica who signed the Save Cockpit Country, petition to the Prime Minister’ in 2017.
Another 29 communities were noted in the petition to have been left out of the designated Cockpit Country protected area.
“People in these communities should not have to lose their homes, farmlands, forests, and traditional livelihoods or suffer the adverse impacts of bauxite mining,” the letter continued.