JLP Senator Matthew Samuda Defends Andrew Holness’ Stewardship of the Environment… Blames Phillip Pauwell for Cockpit Dilemma

Latest Jamaica News: With the Government under fire from Jamaicans at home and abroad regarding the contentious issue of bauxite mining within the Cockpit Country, Government Senator Matthew Samuda, defended Prime Minister Andrew Holness, whom he claims is the island’s first environmentalist head of Government.

The Senator, who was speaking in an interview on the Chopping Block show, dubbed All Things Cockpit Country, hosted by blogger Choppajohn West, on Saturday night, said Holness, is not an environmental vandal as is being touted by protesters, but is instead a staunch protector of the island’s natural resources.

Samuda, in a no-holds barred presentation during the show, said PNP MP and former Mining Minister, Phillip Paulwell, is the person who ought to be blamed for the precarious position in which the country finds itself, as he was the one who issued a mining licence to Noranda Bauxite Company to encroach in the Cockpit territory.

He said the Prime Minister, seeing the area was under threat moved swiftly to get the area declared protected, after having fulsome consultation with all stakeholders.

The Prime minister is the only man that every try protect the Cockpit Country.   The Prime Minister settled a 40 year argument in declaring 70,000 hectares of the Cockpit country protected in 2017.   Busta, Shearer, Sangster, Eddie, nobody neva do it.  Manley neva do it; PJ neva do it.   Andrew Holness a di man who protect 70,000 hectares of the Cockpit Country,” he argued.

There is no mining in the Cockpit Country Protected Area as designated by Andrew Holness which is the largest protected area in the Caribbean.  The area in question, the mining contract was signed by Phillip Paulwell, as Minister of Industry and Mining in 2004,” Samuda said during the interview.

He stressed:  “A Phillip Paulwell did a sell-out di area in question.   A Phillip Paulwell sign di licence an sell out di hillside…There is also an article in 2015, where he said excitedly that Noranda would be starting Mining soon while he was still minister of Energy and Mining, and he was referring to this area.

In further defending Holness’ stewardship of the environment, Samuda said Holness forfeited billions of US dollars, by denying approval for a coal plant in St Elizabeth and refused to sell Goat Island to the Chinese whose investment there would have been US$3 billion, and which had been promised to them by the former PNP administration.  He said as a consequence, arguments by detractors of the Prime Minister that he was selling Cockpit lands for money was what he described as “asinine shouting”.

You think he (Holness) did not want to turn down this?  He turned down Goat Island which would have seen US$3 billion worth of investment.   There is no reason to give up big money for an environmental issue to take on small money for an environmental issue.   It was $3 billion that was on the table for Goat Islands you know.  The PM give up billions,” he argued.

The value of the bauxite that is to be mined is far less than the value of Goat Islands and the former administration had already agreed to Goat Islands,” Samuda said.

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