Spanish Town mayor challenges NEPA, Gov’t over environmental concerns

JUNCTION, St Elizabeth — Mayor of Spanish Town Norman Scott is accusing the Government of being insensitive to environmental concerns against a backdrop of complaints by residents living near the Dovecot Memorial Park and Cemetery in St Catherine.

Scott, while addressing the People’s National Party’s (PNP) St Elizabeth South Eastern constituency conference on Sunday in St Elizabeth, also called on the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) to address the concerns of residents over fears that a 50-acre expansion of the cemetery might pose a health hazard.

“This is a Government that cares nothing about the people. The people in a certain section of St Catherine say that they don’t want any cemetery in their area; they have a reason [for saying this]. And I am saying the prime minister is the minister responsible for NEPA; if NEPA can come and meet with the people and they can show scientifically that the area that is to be used for the cemetery can be done without contaminating the water, because the aquifer passes directly in that area,” said Scott, a PNP vice-president.

“Five wells are there. I have issued the stop order and I have said to the prime minister ‘The people seh they want you to work with them.’ I am working with them, but apparently the Government doesn’t care about the people,” added Scott.

Efforts to get a response from NEPA’s Chief Executive Officer Peter Knight were unsuccessful up to mid-afternoon Tuesday.

Scott also pointed to the recent contamination of the Rio Cobre by caustic effluent from Windalco’s bauxite and alumina plant.

“The people from big business just let out dem pollution, kill off all the fish, and we don’t hear the Government seh anything. [It has been] five consecutive years [since] it has been happening; it never used to happen suh under PNP,” Scott claimed.

“The Rio Cobre supplies water for almost three quarters of St Catherine and some parts of Kingston, and when the water is polluted you can imagine something happens and some of that water gets into the mainstream? What [is] going to happen to Jamaica?” he asked.

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