Archive for August 5th, 2010

Fourth party joins Jamaica’s political landscape

| 05/08/2010 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Former talkshow host and children’s advocate Betty Ann Blaine has launched a new political party in Jamaica. New Nation Coalition, consisting of 10 founding members, is promising tax reformation, urban housing, rural land reform and a foundation built on strong Christian principles among some of its objectives, the Jamaica Observer reports. The fourth political party has also thrown its weight behind the Contractor General Greg Christie calling for the expansion of his powers as well as supporting the work of the centre for Leadership and Governance at the University of the West Indies. "We are in it for the long haul as we believe this is the time for this country to make a U-turn," Blaine said yesterday.



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Quarry plans resurface

| 05/08/2010 | 40 Comments

(CNS): The peace and tranquillity of life in Mahogany Estates for both the humans and the flora and fauna is under threat once again, CNS has learned. According to information circulated by the Department of Planning, another application has been made by the landowners to quarry 250,000 cubic yards of fill from Block 38E parcel 17REM4, the site where Lorenzo Berry and Whiterock Investment Ltd had created an unofficial quarry before they were stopped by the Central Planning Authority. Residents, who have for years battled against the unauthorised quarrying, had enjoyed a reprieve since the CPA’s decision in 2008. With the application back on the table, the battle is about to start over — not just for residents but for the DoE as well because of the significant number of red listed species near the site.

The same quarrying application was turned down by the CPA in November 2008 in accordance with a specific regulation in the law which states: “No use of land in a residential zone shall be dangerous, obnoxious toxic or cause offensive odours or conditions or otherwise create a nuisance or annoyance to others.” The regulation remains in the new Development and Planning Law Amendment and regulations which were passed in the Legislative Assembly last month.
Apart from the obvious danger and nuisance grounds for the refusal, local conservationists also objected to further quarrying in the area. Evidence from the Department of Environment demonstrated that a number of endangered and red list species live in the forest on and around the property, including the endangered white shouldered bat.
The land in question covers some 44 acres of oceanfront wooded bluff, which rises to around 30 feet above sea level at some points and is home to a number of endemic and native species. From the beautiful Pepper Cinnamon and the Headache Bush to wild calabash and the Broadleaf Tree, there are many plants with Red List Status, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, an international classification system that highlights species at risk.
Research conducted by the Department of Environment, revealed that the White-shouldered Bat (Phyllops falcatus) had been rediscovered in 2001 after it was believed the bat was extinct in Grand Cayman. The Lower Valley forest is one of six small areas on the island the DoE was hoping to designate for special preservation as critical habitat once the National Conservation Law was passed.
However, as the law has been further delayed it is very unlikely it will make it to the statute books before the CPA hears this application, which means the authority will be under no legal obligation to consider any reports by the DoE,  nor will the landowners be under any obligation to carry out an environmental impact assessment if the CPA was to grant permission.
CNS understands that notice of the application has only just been circulated this week and it is unclear when the application will go before the CPA.

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