Bunting wants Bellefield to benefit from bauxite money

November 14, 2018
Peter Bunting

Central Manchester MP Peter Bunting has made yet another call for Jamaica to conduct a study to determine whether the bauxite industry is valuable to Jamaica.

Bunting, while acknowledging that there has been economic benefit from the presence of bauxite mining in Jamaica, said the industry has a tremendous impact on the lives of persons in bauxite-mining communities.

"We just take for granted that it is a good thing ... Let us, at least, confirm, if nothing else, the net economic value. There is a cost that we are paying, environmentally, that generations to come will pay that cost. There is a cost for this agricultural potential being given up," Bunting said.

 

DESTRUCTION OF LANDS

 

"We have had relocation of many communities, destroying the communities that were there for many years before. We have had destruction of agricultural lands," Bunting added.

The MP, speaking in Parliament yesterday, said that fertile agricultural lands have been lost to bauxite mining.

Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke had moved a resolution for the withdrawal of money from the Capital Development Fund (CDF), which was set up to help improve the conditions of communities that have suffered dislocation as a result of bauxite mining.

Using Bellefield High School as an example, Bunting said that although students can see the mud lake and the Kirkvine plant from their classrooms, they have not really benefited from the sector.

"This is one of the few schools remaining on the shift system," he said, noting that Bellefield High School should have been taken off the shift system in January.

"We have not seen any meaningful contribution to improving the infrastructure at this school to take them off the shift system and at least return some of the original purpose of the CDF, which was to reinvest in these communities for the days when there is post-bauxite," he said.

He also said that Bellefield Primary does not have piped water. He urged the Government to seek to solve the water problem at the school.

The MP also called for a long-term study on the impact of bauxite mining on the lives of people who live or work in and around bauxite-mining communities.

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