Letters to the Editor

Cockpit Country

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

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Dear Editor,

The Ganja Growers and Producers Association of Jamaica is absolutely astounded, as so many other Jamaicans, by the allegations that bauxite mining is being contemplated once more in the Cockpit Country.

We join and support the declaration by the Maroons and other residents in Trelawny, St James, Hanover, Westmoreland, St Elizabeth, Clarendon, and St Ann in particular, that there shall be no mining in Cockpit Country.

Further reports from residents in Trelawny reveal that there has been an arbitrary new demarcation of the boundary of the Cockpit Country marked by a monument placed there by a bauxite company, apparently in defiance of the existing agreements and without the permission of the people.

Despite the treaty signed in 1738, which gives the Maroons possession and the responsibility forever over the Cockpit Country lands, there have been recent attempts to mine bauxite there. These attempts to define “boundaries” for the Cockpit Country to suit possible bauxite mining have clearly revealed that the Cockpit Country is our most treasured ecosystem which regulates our climate, keeps the environment in balance, is the home to rare, endemic plant and bird life, has different soil types suitable for agro-production, and provides 40 per cent of our total water supply.

The Cockpit Country and surrounding lands are a haven for permanent eco-tourism, heritage, health, and community tourism which is already being developed. Land is needed for vastly increased agro-production recently emphasised by Minister J C Hutchinson, Member of Parliament Fenton Ferguson, Jamaica Agricultural Society President Lenworth Fulton, and Custos Shagoury of Clarendon, who together stated that Jamaica's food import bill is increasing at an alarming rate.

Bauxite mining in the Cockpit Country would bring short-term gain for the companies, but long-term ruination for Jamaica, and more of our people will become squatters. We cannot allow this to happen in 2019.

Richard Crawford

President

Ganja Growers and Producers Association Jamaica

gfgpa@gmail.com


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