Access to justice is a critical tool of leverage against the bullies of this world. The government of Jamaica continues to pay lip service to the constitutional rights of Jamaicans and the latest demonstration of that is their poor ranking on the Environmental Democratic Index and the sale of Roaring River in St. Ann to Chinese Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) despite public howls of protest.
The Minister of Transport and Works, Dr. Omar Davies, feigning his surprise at the fast tracking of CHEC in acquiring Roaring River, rings hollow as this is the same Minister who in 2004 said about a Chinese company contracted to build on the University of Technology campus quote “I am not making this a racial thing, but no black man can work like that” unquote so he should know how fast the Chinese can work.
The government of Jamaica ignored allowing any environmental groups in the negotiation of the sale of any of the country’s precious lands with CHEC and as is their style signed a secret deal with CHEC at a price no one knows.
All Jamaicans have a constitutional right to enjoy a healthy and productive environment free from environmental abuse. The sale of Jamaica’s beautiful Roaring River in St. Ann is a clear act of disrespect to the Jamaican people’s constitutional rights.
A new research tool, called the Environmental Democracy Index (EDI), developed by The Access Initiative (TAI) and the World Resources Institute (WRI) in Washington, DC, to evaluate the progress of countries in giving their citizens rights to access information, access to justice and rights for public participation, recently shows Jamaica scoring well below many Latin American and Caribbean countries at a score of 19 out of 23 such countries.
The Jamaican people will not learn that putting their land and money in the hands of socialists is like putting your lives in the hands of children.