Stiffer penalties for environmental breaches

September 30, 2016
The crocodile is protected by law under the Wild Life Protection Act.

Increased fines are on the horizon for people who break the country's environmental laws.

The National Environment & Planning Agency (NEPA) has indicated that drafting instructions will be submitted to its

parent ministry by March 2017.

The Auditor General's Department, in a 2010 audit, said NEPA's paltry fines ranged from $100 to $40,000. It said that the fines did not act as a deterrent.

"This is an urgent issue if NEPA is to find ways of better preventing illegal environmental activity. We identified that similar organisations in at least two Caribbean countries charged fines that were at least 351 per cent higher than those charged by NEPA," the 2010 audit report said.

The auditor general said that the laws, which relate to NEPA, should be revised and provisions should be made to ensure that fines are reflective of damages incurred and that there are revisions every five years to ensure that they remain relevant and effective.

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