St Lucia’s Government Urges End to Deforestation on Western Coast

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - March 20, 2012

By the Caribbean Journal staff

St Lucia’s Ministry of Infrastructure, Port Services and Transport is urging those engaged in acts of deforestation on the island’s west coast to desist.

According to Alison Jean, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, officials have recognised an increase in deforestation along the West Coast to aid in the production of charcoal.

“A lot of the deforestation activities [are] for economic benefit,” Jean said. “We have seen evidence that people are cutting the forest area for charcoal and although there is some economic benefit, it has the ripple effect of devastation on our infrastructure, as it is one of the main causes of landslides.”

Jean said the Ministry was collaborating with the Ministry of Agriculture, NEMO and the Ministry of Finance’s Reconstruction Unit.

“We are not acting alone,” she said.

The Ministry plans further discussions to determine the best course of action. Any interventions will be guided by the results of a soon-to-be-conducted Land Risk Assessment, to be funded by the Caribbean Development Bank.

“We are in the process of awarding a contract for that study which should be done in a month or so,” she said.

The LRA is expected to recommend the interventions necessary to mitigate any further landslides.

“Of course, we have to let the public know that deforestation is one of our major concerns and we would like to ask them to desist from doing so,” she said, calling deforestation a potentially “devastating” problem.

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