Prime Minister Andrew Holness has dismissed claims that the government, while seeking to develop the country’s economy, is unaware of the need to protect the environment and historical assets, stating that they will always ensure natural and environmental assets are preserved.
Holness was speaking at the launch of a multi-billion dollar ship repair and maintenance facility today (January 24), where he addressed the importance of environmental and historical preservation when developing a country’s economy.
“There is a sense sometimes in public conversation that somehow government officials and public officials are callus, unsophisticated and unaware about the need to protect our environment, to protect our historical and other strategic natural assets, and that somehow it is an inclination of government to wantonly destroy our natural assets,” said Holness.
He noted “that is absolutely not the case and it must be squarely confronted to those who would want to portray government generally in that way.”
The Prime Minister shared that when the plans for the development of the ship yard were originally curated, the company wanted to have the facility at Port Royal. But the government intervened.
“It was the government who said we have natural assets, we have historical heritage assets that we must protect and any investment must be of high standard and those approvals were not given,” said Holness.
He then urged citizens to change their view that investments always have a possibility of destroying natural and historical assets, because the two can co-exist.
“I think there is an equilibrium that can be attained where investments can be made to preserve our natural assets, that help us to realize the economic potential which are locked in these assets, without destroying them for future generations. That is the direction that the government is going. Whatever our natural assets are, whatever our historical assets are we must find a way to unlock the economic value in them without destroying them,” he stressed.
The Prime Minister further noted that often times there are heritage and environmental assets in Jamaica that are destroyed because of lack of use or attention. But the virtue of investments will allow for these assets to be preserved.
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