For at least 30 years there has been a long list of worthwhile intentions, incomplete policies and many public statements at the highest-level assuring commitment to environmental protection and sustainability. However, the Jamaican government has failed to operationalize any of these.
On November 28, 2018, CAPRI brought together Hon. Daryl Vaz, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation with responsibility for the Land, Environment, Climate Change and Investments; Dr. Diana Thorburn, Director of Research, CAPRI; Mrs. Diana McCaulay, CAPRI Affiliate Researcher; Prof. Dale Webber, Principal, University of the West Indies Mona; and Ms. Denise Forrest, Managing Director, Forrest & Associates, to discuss CAPRI’s research findings and recommendations on an environmental regulatory framework for Jamaica. The discussion was moderated by Ms. Danielle Andrade, Attorney-At-Law, Goffe Law. The study was conducted in partnership with NIA and USAID.
It has long been recognized that the weakness of the environmental regulatory and institutional framework is the primary obstacle to good environmental stewardship. Professor Dale Webber, Principal of UWI Mona campus applauded CAPRI, “I am very proud of what CAPRI has done with its associates to put on the front burner a document with such robust information."
The think tank has recommended that the NEPA Act be promulgated as an urgent priority, the environmental impact assessment regulations be completed and promulgated, the regulations for all types of parks and protected areas be completed and promulgated, fines and sanctions for breaches of the NRCA Act and regulations be increased, the remaining Development Orders be completed and public outreach conducted on their provisions, draft environmental policies be rationalized and completed, fast trach the National Spatial Plan, the location of the environmental portfolio for at least ten years be settled, establish a Parliamentary Commission on the Environment and investigate the feasibility of an Environmental Court for Jamaica.
"The study's recommendations, while they might seem simple to the audience, will require for me a lot more discussions with Diana and CAPRI to look at how we move forward," said Daryl Vaz in his closing remarks. The public forum was held at the Terra Nova All Suite Hotel – Venetian Suite, in Kingston.