1) Learn more about accessing information on projects
Every citizen has the right to access official documents from a public body. Learn how to get this information by reading our Guidebook.
2) Learn more about participating in project approvals
Public participation allows the government to seek input from a wide range of stakeholders with varying views, concerns and knowledge and is usually undertaken in decisions related to the approval of projects, policies and regulatory decisions. Meaningful public participation requires providing the public with full information, an opportunity for early and direct engagement in the decision-making process, adequate time periods for public comment and genuine consideration of public concerns. Giving the public a voice in the process to approval projects, facilitates informed debate, legitimizes decisions taken by the government and encourages accountability in governance.
For certain types of developments that can have a significant impact on the environment, the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) can require an Environmental Impact Assessment of the project. An EIA is the formal process used to predict positive or negative environmental consequences of a plan, policy, program or project prior to making any decisions on the proposed plan. NEPA has developed guidelines for public presentations of EIAs which you can view here. You can also view the guidelines on participating in the Development Approval Process here
3) Learn more about challenging projects
People who are affected by a project have the opportunity to ask the Supreme Court to review the decision to approve the project. Judicial review can be used to ensure accountability in the decision-making process by determining whether a decision was reasonable, legal and whether the proper procedure was followed. If you are concerned about a project and wish to apply for judicial review you should contact an Attorney for assistance.
4) Learn more about protected areas
Jamaica has over 240 protected areas. They include the Cockpit Country, Blue and John Crow Mountains and the Black River Great Morass. Development Alert highlights proposed projects which developers have suggested are located in protected areas including large scale mining projects, tourism expansion and highway development. Protected areas may have separate laws and regulations that govern what development is permitted within their boundaries. While there is no rule in Jamaica that development is not permitted within protected areas, there needs to be greater access to relevant information and participatory spaces for citizens to engage in discussions about development and the environment within protected areas.
More opportunities are needed for constructive ongoing and open dialogue about proposed developments or long-term planning in Jamaica within protected areas. Learn more about the different types by visiting http://protectedplanet.net/search?country_id=108&q=jamaica