Save the Goat Islands and Protected Areas of Jamaica

by Steven G. Smith
(Oceanside, California)

PBPA, Jamaicas Largest Protected Area

PBPA, Jamaicas Largest Protected Area

PBPA, Jamaicas Largest Protected Area

noportongoatisland.com

We started our campaign back in early September, 2013, as a result of the announcement by the Jamaican government of an MOU signed in China, outlining the desire to use the Portland Bight Protected Area of Jamaica for a massive transshipping hub and industrial enclave.

The Portland Bight Protected Area

The Portland Bight Protected Area (PBPA) was created by the Jamaican government in 1999 to protect a large marine and terrestrial area on the island of Jamaica, located southeast of Kingston.

Nearby cays such as Little Goat Island are included. It is the largest protected area in Jamaica, and comprises 724 square miles (1,880 km2).

Although the first priority in forming the protected area was to protect the coral reefs, it also serves to protect vulnerable and endemic species.

The PBPA includes 32 square miles (83 km2) of wetlands on the island, coastlines of mangroves, and sea-grass beds that serve as a nursery for fish and shellfish breeding.

The United Nations in 2012 estimated that the mangroves alone in the area were worth USD $45 million each year in carbon sequestration. This figure did not account for the rest of the flora of the area.

What We Need to Protect

According to the IUCN Red List, there are a total of 59 critically endangered species, and 77 endangered in and around Jamaica.

This includes plants and animals, both on land in the waters, as well as migratory birds.

On land, there are 81 square miles (210 km2) of dry limestone forests, 60 known caves, and it includes a population of 50,000.

Part of the task in forming the PBPA going forward is to find a balance between protecting the ecosystem from destruction by economic development and allowing the human inhabitants a means to live and work.

We see the Biosphere Reserve program as a viable means to accomplish this.

Development Project in the Goat Islands

August 29, 2013, the Government of Jamaica proposed to develop the Goat Islands, in the PBPA, as a transshipment hub in conjunction with the Chinese government.

The proposal for a coal fired electrical plant, storage facilities, factories, warehouses, bridges, water treatment & waste facilities, a deep water port, and the latest addition--a factory to assemble heavy cranes for the shipping industry--will destroy the area forever, all for a promise of maybe 10,000 jobs and an investment by China of USD $1.5 billion.

As Jamaica will own very little of this, the best they will see are low paying jobs, while the bulk of the money returns to China.

Holding the Government Accountable

Our mission is to hold the Government of Jamaica accountable for the commitment they have made to hold the PBPA in trust for the citizens of Jamaica, the public and future generations.

We also wish the Government of Jamaica to recognize both local and international laws and agreements to which they are a party to, and uphold them.

We will continue to call for the Biosphere Reserve application that has been filed and accepted by the UN to move forward.

Preserving Cultural Heritage

We also seek for the Government of Jamaica to recognize that this area was once home to the Taino Tribe, and as such, the area is rich with cultural heritage.

We view any violation of this area for the proposed development of the transshipping hub and its massive complex as a violation of the Constitution of Jamaica under the amended charter of Freedoms & Rights that raises the protection of the environment to that of a human right.

We also see it as our mission the help inform the public and support those agencies working in Jamaica on this issue.

A Call For Sustainability in Jamaica

We are not against progress, and understand that Jamaica needs a sustainable economic future.

However, this should be done responsibly, while keeping in mind the limited natural resources of Jamaica.

We have maintained that Jamaica can have both the Biosphere Reserve and the Logistics Hub without having to sacrifice one for the other.

Join Us

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Comments for Save the Goat Islands and Protected Areas of Jamaica

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Jun 29, 2014
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Thanks
by: Mildred

Thanks Mr Steven Smith, or your team, for writing I weren't expecting such a long reply! All I was unclear about was the proper name of the campaign, not all the work you are doing. That's great. And if you did all that yoa list on your own you'd have no time for whatever you do elsewhere. Yes, I'll sign up of course.
Best wishes.

Jun 29, 2014
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Mildred Really?
by: Steven G. Smith

WE are over 2400 members on Face Book, WE are over 8400 signatures on our petition site. WE are over 150 supportive organizations that have endorsed the campaign including Betty White & Ziggy Marley. WE have an online radio show every Sunday. We have two (2) You Tube Channels plus twitter accounts....Because the staff is not listed, what you think it's just me doing all that and then some? Seriously?

If you must know there are four (4) main staff.
Myself (USA)
Aven Peralto-Nichols (USA)(Jamaica)
Ray Fitzgerald (Panama)(Jamaica)
Christopher Phillips (Jamaica)

There are also volunteers in several countries as well as in Jamaica.

So, as the spokesperson, campaign organizer and founder, when I write I write for all of us and our supporters. This is not the first article we have published this same information and pictures.

We are very confident that if indeed the photo wasn't related then CHEC as well as the Government of Jamaica would not hesitate for one moment in calling us out to discredit our campaign.

I ran your comments by the staff and they are just as perplexed as I am about your assertion that the photo is out of context, when in fact it is a CHEC blasting project, and the Goat Islands are as I said primarily hard limestone.

Bulldozing & scoping is not an option for CHEC if the project is to be completed under the time frame in which they want it done (i.e. shortly after the Panama canal expansion is done).

We have consulted with engineers and the Geological Society of Jamaica members within our group and know what they will most likely do to level the Goat Islands.

Not to worry...We did not make any claims or assumptions that are not within the realm of how if given the chance CHEC would take this area down. We have nothing to be embarrassed about here.

I think that you are the person that should be embarrassed for making an assertion that somehow CCG would allow an article such as ours to appear without making sure it was accurate.

If you want to know more, read more there is a lot of information out there on the PBPA/ Goat Islands. You never know you might just end up joining us and signing the petition too.

Good Luck in whatever your doing. We would hope that you put just as much passion into that as you have done here.




Jun 29, 2014
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Your organization
by: Mildred

Thanks steven, yes i did look at on the sight at the url given under the small photos. But nowhere there does it give any information about who or what the organization is, or its official name. All I find is reference to yourself and "we", but not who we is. And, I still say as first said that photo of balsting is out of context. Anyway i have done my best to save you embarassment. Good luck. Lets hope that this port doesn't happen.

Jun 28, 2014
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Mildred
by: Steven G. Smith

Had you gone to the dot com site listed under the photo's & prior to the article you would have know clearly who we are. It is obvious you did not.

Best Wishes
Steven G. Smith
Campaign Organizer/Founder
NO! port on Goat Islands/Goat Islands, Jamaica.

Jun 28, 2014
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We or I
by: Mildred

Sir, The article is clearly by someone called Steven Smith, not by an organisation or there are references to "we". As i do not know the name of the organisation, I thought it polite to address it to the person writing the report. If that is offensive I cannot help it. Best wishes Mildred (not Milly)

Jun 28, 2014
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Dear skeptical Milly
by: Steven G. Smith

You still claim ambiguous material, and still are clinging onto the false assumption that this has nothing to do with Jamaica, when in fact it does.

The Goat Islands are primarily limestone. Now they have a few choices as they would with dredging the seabed floor on how to do this development. The only question is which method will they use? The Question on the photo is "CHEC is this what we have to look forward to"? not, This is what it will look like or we know for a fact they are going to do this to the Goat Islands. It is a question of destructive methods....Which one will they use.

I hardly think that the destruction of any area like this on this level, regardless of the method of doing so is in any way misleading or in any way ambiguous. The result is the same in the end, the area is destroyed and developed.

You contended "This photo is well known in Canada and is related to a life saving construction", first, and now your minimizing the nature of the photo once it is proven that indeed it was a CHEC operation that did the blasting. Splitting hairs over a non issue.

You seem to be fixated on me personally, when none of the article is written in the first person. We are an organization of like minded people working towards the same goal to protect the Goat Islands and Portland Bight Protected Area. We are also working toward getting the Biosphere Reserve application reinstated, so it may move forward again. There is no "I" in TEAM. So, it's not "me"...it's WE.

Your wording sounds very familiar to one of my critics. I'm not even sure your name is Mildred, as the writing style and verbiage your using are familiar. I have seen this exact sentencing structure written by a disassociated colleague who seems to care more about who gets credit than the total sum of the people, or the work being done to save this protected area.

As the saying goes..."Encouragers wanted....The world has enough critics."


Jun 28, 2014
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That photograph
by: Mildred

Thank you for giving Anony mous the link. Very interesting, but ambiguous. Yes the picture is there and yes the work blasting was done by CHEC but Sri lanka Ports has used this photo it does not come from CHEC. and is not their work so is still misleading.

Jun 28, 2014
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That photograph
by: Mildred

Thank you for giving Anony mous the link. Very interesting, but ambiguous. Yes the picture is there and yes the work blasting was done by CHEC but Sri lanka Ports has used this photo it does not come from CHEC. and is not their work so is still misleading.

Jun 27, 2014
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Rock Blasting Skeptic
by: Steven G. Smith

The Hambantota rock blasted

The rock in the Habantota International Harbour (HIH) that prevented the berthing of large ships had been blasted at a cost of US$35 to US$40 million and the pieces are being removed, a senior Hambantota harbour official said today.

Chief Engineer Ajil Hewageegana said the removal of the pieces of the blasted rock and clearing operation would be concluded in three weeks enabling large ships, container carriers and mammoth oil tankers to enter the Hambantota Harbour.

“The blasting was carried out by the China Harbour Engineering Company. The rock did not affect the activities of the harbour but there has been some disturbance to the central canal,” he said.

Source: http://www.slpa.lk/news_events_326.asp

Is that enough proof that the photo is real and not something made up to sensationalize or it is a "well known nuclear bomb". I would hope so.

People would be better served to research themselves rather than jumping to the conclusion that this is false or misleading in any way.

Jun 27, 2014
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To Unscientific
by: Anonymous

I do not think Mr. Smith made any claims about being a scientist anywhere that I read. As for misleading facts on the web page. I looked myself and thought it was nicely done. It contained the same information as does this article, so I'm not sure what you are talking about when you say misleading.

As with any mass development it not only changes the immediate area, but the areas surround it a developments tend to do. Mr. Smith's representation of the things that COULD be destroyed are very real given what he has reported here (i.e. coal fired plant, leveling the islands, etc.)

The only assumption that one could draw from your blanket statement is that your a detractor and denier of what the true damages of developments like this do to an entire region and ecosystem.

Methodology of how they go about destroying the area is splitting hairs, when the results are the same.

Jun 27, 2014
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Not true. Unscientific and Irresponsible.
by: Anonymous

Would the administrator of this campaign check out their facts. I repeat your website contains many so called facts that are misleading.

What country did this clearance by CHEC take place in?

What evidence do you have this is in any way comparable to work in Jamaica?


Jun 25, 2014
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The blown Up Island picture
by: Steven G. Smith

The photograph used is a CHEC project of them widening a canal. As the Goat Islands are made of Dry Lime Stone they will not simply be able to push them off into the sea to level them, but will indeed have to use explosives to do so. As this photo belongs to the same company contracted to do the work in the PBPA we felt it was an accurate representation of what would occur to the Goat Islands for this development.

Jun 25, 2014
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The blown Up Island
by: Steven G. Smith

The photograph used is a CHEC project of them widening a canal. As the Goat Islands are made of Dry Lime Stone they will not simply be able to push them off into the sea to level them, but will indeed have to use explosives to do so. As this photo belongs to the same company contracted to do the work in the PBPA we felt it was an accurate representation of what would occur to the Goat Islands.

Jun 25, 2014
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Irresponsible Reporting
by: Mildred

The photo used of an island blowing up is irresponsible reporting and attention seeking. It is not from Jamaica, and has nothing whatever to do with the chinese company CHEC as purported. In fact it is here to further the authors own ends. This photo is well known in Canada and is related to a life saving construction. Authors of campaigns really ought to be more careful and scientific. This particular site contains other obvious emotional and inaccurate "facts".

Jun 25, 2014
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Misleading Reporting
by: Anonymous

The picture of the island blowing up is pure scandal and attention seeking. It is nothing to do with Jamaica, and nothing to do with the chinese company CHEC. This is highly irresponsible journalism for the authors own gains.

This is a well known photograph of .... nuclear testing!

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