Government to meet with EAG

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Environment Minister Molwyn Joseph has indicated his intent to have an open dialogue with the Environmental Awareness Group (EAG) to discuss any concerns they may have regarding developments in a protected area.

Joseph was speaking on Observer AM when he made the declaration after Executive Director of the EAG, Arica Hill, aired her frustrations on the matter.

She noted that further discussions are needed.

The EAG on Tuesday, in a press release, raised fresh concerns about a development currently taking place in the North East Marine Management Area (NEMMA).

“We understand there is going to be development, but we want to ensure that all the persons that have a say in the benefits of this development can say I see you want to build this thing here, that might not be a good idea because it floods here or it might not be a good idea because if you put it there that is the breeding ground for sea cucumbers. There has to be some level of further discussion.

“One of the things that we requested very strongly was that there be an issuance of a stop order. We have been listening to the conversations about this whole development for the past few weeks. There’s been a discussion about the fact that YIDA should have put together a monitoring plan and they haven’t done that as yet. The EAG’s opinion is that if that hasn’t been done, then issue a stop order. There has been a mention of requesting one from DCA until those plans are done because if you do not, then you are going to degrade the environment,’” stated Hill.

 Minister Molwyn Joseph however claimed he only had the opportunity to talk briefly with Hill as a previously planned meeting did not happen as scheduled, but he will be reviewing a position paper from the EAG for future discussions.

“The head of that department, Ambassador Diann Black-Layne, is off-island. She should be returning shortly and then we will be reviewing that document. Now, the reason I made this intervention is because I want to encourage dialogue, and I do not wish for the wrong impression to be left in terms of the role we play as a government in dealing with the issue of the environment.

“When Ms. Hill expressed her frustrations, the public might have got the wrong impression that her frustration might partly be due to her interaction with the Ministry. I wish to reverse that impression because that is not the case, and I anticipate a serious dialogue with the EAG.”

Joseph went further to remind the public of the long history of working together that both entities have had.

“The Redonda project was put back, and restored its momentum after the EAG met with me in my office and I made available all the resources of government; and I am pleased to say I have worked with the EAG and others to ensure that we have a successful restoration of the Redonda project.

“We have a history of achievement. We have a history of dialogue, so any impression that there is frustration with the Ministry of Environment, I just wish to correct that.”

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