Ian AllenAnthony King, a park ranger at Holywell Park in the Blue Mountains, points to one of the more popular trails that would encompass the 7.7 acres of the property that former minister with responsibility for the environment Daryl Vaz was seeking to lease for $10,000 a month. He later withdrew the request after howls of protest from the Jamaica Conservation Development Trust.
Leaders of the Maroon communities in Portland and St Mary on Thursday signed a petition, appealing to the authorities to respect the final resting place of their forefathers and the cultural legacy bequeathed to them by stopping all further leases of land within the boundaries of the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park.
The document was signed during the regular quarterly meeting of the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park Maroon Communities Committee. During their deliberations, the leaders and Maroon council members expressed solidarity with the recent stance by the Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust (JCDT), guardians of the World Heritage Site.
It was the objection raised by the JCDT that resulted in the withdrawal of the bid by former environment minister Daryl Vaz, who had expressed an interest in building a residential complex on lands bordering the protected Holywell National Forest Park. He had argued that the recreational complex used by the JCDT to promote camping and other environmental-based leisure activities was justification for his venture, which was earmarked for the lucrative airbnb trade.