Environmental advocates concerned about how constitutional reform will impact land rights of indigenous people

Some environmental advocates have raised concern about how changes to the constitution, in the process to transition Jamaica to a republic, will impact efforts to protect the Cockpit Country, and the land rights of indigenous peoples.

The matter was raised during a Cockpit Country virtual forum on Thursday evening.

St Ann based environmentalist Wendy Lee, noted that part of the problem with the Constitutional Reform Committee, is the lack of adequate information about what is being done.

Another advocate noted that Jamaica’s governance system, which was inherited from the colonizers, needs an overhaul.

Meantime, member of the South Trelawny Environmental Agency, Ainsworth Smith, pointed out that while by law, the government has the right to extract bauxite, some groups such as the maroons, will continue to lobby for their land rights.

And, founder of the agency, Hugh Dixon said the transition to a republic, will be impacted by the challenge mounted by indigenous peoples against the government, as to legal ownership of the cockpit country based on the treaty the maroons have with the British.


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