Environmental Management Scoping Report submitted by Conrad Douglas & Associates
The Government of Jamaica is engaged in negotiations with China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) to establish a large transshipment port in the Portland Bight Protected Area (PBPA) in the vicinity of the Goat Islands. The GOJ contracted Conrad Douglas & Associates to carry out a scoping study to “identify the biologically sensitive features of the marine and terrestrial environment, their spatial distribution and the location of rare, threatened and endangered species in the Portland Bight and Ridge area and Goat Islands”. The study was released on October 16th, 2013. Download the Conrad Douglas Scoping Report.
Given that the scoping study will inform will inform the development of a Framework Agreement between the GOJ and CHEC (specifically preliminary designs of the project), and a decision by the Cabinet, a group of stakeholders jointly reviewed the scoping study and found it to be flawed in several respects. Download the complete REVIEW of this scoping report.
Stakeholder reviewers revealed that the Environmental Management Scoping Report submitted by Conrad Douglas & Associates:
- Is based on a cursory literature review, scant field observations and inadequate consultation with critical stakeholders;
- Overstates the existing extent of industrial development in the PBPA;
- Overstates environmental degradation of the Goat Islands from historical human activities and hence wrongly implies that the majority of the coastal environment is degraded;
- Does not accurately list or describe the rare, threatened and endangered species and their spatial distribution in and dependence on the Portland Bight & Ridge area and the Goat Islands;
- Concentrates too narrowly on the Goat Islands themselves, with insufficient assessment of the environmental characteristics of the adjacent coastline and mainland, the Bight as an integrated ecological system and the mainland (especially Hellshire Hills). This is especially important as many of these areas will be destroyed as part of the wider development;
- Underestimates the number of fishers and their dependence on the PBPA for income and subsistence; and
- Proposes mitigation measures that are not feasible.