Mining has long been a lucrative industry in Jamaica. However, the communities where mining is undertaken are often affected by the dust and chemical nuisance along with issues related to water. Transport and Mining Minister, Robert Montague says the government plans to change this, saying the government has failed the people.
“We have had discussions with my colleagues and we are going to take on the water challenges in these communities. The Jamaica Bauxite Institute, along with the National Water Commission is putting together a medium to a long term plan to treat with this issue,” says Montague. “I ask for the commitment of this House that we will unite to see this through. It won’t happen overnight or all at once but it is important that we deal with this matter once and for all.”
Over the years, a number of Jamaicans have been relocated as a result of mining sites. Issues related to dust and chemical nuisance and insufficient access to water, are also problems being faced by these individuals. Montague says there are plans to assist persons who have been displaced and without their titles for a period.
“We have consulted with the Attorney General’s Chambers and have gotten the go-ahead to use the power of vesting orders under the Bauxite and Alumina Industries (Special Provisions) Act to assist,” Montague explains. “This, along with the recently passed amendment to the Special Provisions Act, will ensure more titles are issued. Once the land is vested in a person or entity, the Commissioner of Lands will not look beyond the vesting order, but proceed to title.”
Montague says the government will be assisting over 5000 families that are waiting on a title for parcels of land on which they have been resettled by bauxite mining companies.
“However, we have ensured and enlisted the bauxite companies to ensure that the basic infrastructure must be put in place by them, so that people will not only get titles but infrastructure in properly laid out subdivisions. That includes running water to the communities,” he adds.