Developing Furor over Font Hill, Jamaica

In Jamaica, there is much controversy over a large piece of property on Font Hill, located near Black River in St. Elizabeth and comprising more than 3,000 acres of land, which is now being considered for massive development. Although the area has a protected status, the government has found a way to sidestep ecological protection issues to divest the Font Hill property for the development of a major Spanish-owned hotel. Jamaicans interested in preserving the country’s natural resources have led a push for sustainable development. Quite a few articles have been written against this decision as well as a “Save Font Hill Jamaica” group that is now circulating on Facebook and gathering more and more members daily. The question most often posed is, “Will ‘yet another gem in the Caribbean’ be destroyed in the name of tourism.”

The Green Antilles blog writes, “Owned and operated by the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), the property is poised to herald in unprecedented development on Jamaica’s South Coast, with such possibilities as the construction and establishment of an airport, hotels, public beaches and a golf course.”

Peter Marra, writing for the Island Resources Foundation, reports on serious concerns about the development of Font Hill:

“For those of you who don’t know Font Hill, it contains remarkable pristine habitats including Black Mangrove Forests, scrub and beaches. It should be a world Natural Heritage site! It also has a spectacular population of endemic Jamaica species, as well as Crocodiles, Whistling Ducks and large populations of various migratory birds. It has also hosted a large and productive research program for US and Jamaican scientists for the last 25 years that has resulted in over 100 scientific publications on the non-breeding ecology of migratory birds as well as several papers on Jamaican habitats and other wildlife. The research on the winter ecology of migrant birds has no parallel anywhere in the world. We need your help in developing a strategy to try and combat the destruction of yet another gem in the Caribbean.”

For full article and more information, see http://www.greenantilles.com/2010/05/10/tourism-development-planned-for-font-hill-jamaica/ and http://irf.posterous.com/proposed-development-of-key-coastal-habitat-i

Read more at the Jamaica Information Service website and at the Island Resources Foundation blog

Photo of Font Hill beach from http://www.yardedge.net/worth-a-visit/font-hill-westmoreland

2 thoughts on “Developing Furor over Font Hill, Jamaica

  1. The strategy of Jamaica for its development is absurd. We ourselves do not ask our financial people to finance development and perhaps get outside technological help and marketing for this, but sell out the place. Like our bauxite and the previous Bahai Hotels. Bauxite is done now and what have we for this. The Spanish hotels – how is it going. We are going back essentially to the days when we were marginalized on the sugar plantations. Is that development. We have earmarked the Cayamanas area for this and now Font Hill. Is that development. Look on the road to Morant Bay from Kingston – look at all the screw driver industrial places. That will be the whole of Jamaica soon enough. What is being done about manufacturing medical drugs from cannabis- ganja – is that not better ! and much more sustainable and environmental
    friendly. There is an absolute lacking of depth of thinking on this issue of our economic affairs. We need an advisory Council that has depth – not a one man thing – one man who is perhaps enthusiastic, and more a political thinker than any thing else.
    Leave Font Hill alone !

  2. To the Jamaican Government:
    Do you realize what you have here. Dont be in a hurry for development.
    Get the right plan and do it so that you can retain the natural beauty of the area as an attraction to the world’s enviornmentalists.
    BrandGWilson
    TorontoCanada.

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