Why is EMA silent?
Date: April 6th 2018
On 4th April 2018, Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) have initiated a Direct Private Party Action against the Ministry of Works and Transport (MOWT) for violations to the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) issued Certificate of Environmental Clearance (CEC) for the construction of the 5000meter Cumuto to Sangre Grande Highway along the southern boundary of the Aripo Savannas (dated 22nd June 2017) and breaches of environmental requirement laid out in the Environmental Management (EM) Act of 2000.
Today (6th April 2018) FFOS have written, Mr. Hayden Romano, the Managing Director of the EMA requesting to exercise their statutory jurisdiction and seek injunctive relief at the Environmental Commission pursuant to Section 67(1) of the EM Act to stop the ongoing and continuous illegal bulldozing of the forest within the established buffer zone.
Please see attached for the letter and supporting pictures.
It appears that the MOWT: (i) Failed to comply to the CEC pursuant to Section 62(g) of the EM Act which states the requirement upon a person to “comply with the conditions and mitigation measures in any such certificate”. a. Failed to comply to Section 4 (4.3) of the CEC which states that “the Applicant shall maintain a vegetated buffer at least 100m wide along the periphery of the entire site, especially along the northern, eastern and western boundaries”. (ii) Failed to comply to Section 2.2 of the CEC states “the Applicant shall be required to apply for an obtain a new CEC before proceeding with the project where modification to the project scope area such the associated works bring it within the description of any designated activity of the CEC (Designated Activities Order”. (iii) Failed to apply for a CEC pursuant to Section 62(f) of the EM Act
Accordingly, the MOWT is in breach of an environmental requirement pursuant to: i. Section 62(g) of the EM Act “to comply with the conditions and mitigation measures in any such certificate,” namelySection 4 (4.3) of the CEC. ii. Section 62(f) of the EM Act to apply for and obtain a CEC.
The EMA had remained silent: – 1. When the CEC mandated buffer zone was violated pre Injunction, 8th Jan to 16th January;
- While the alignment being prepared violates the mandated CEC approval which requires at least 100 metres as a buffer zone from the southern boundary of the Aripo Savannas;
- As no action was taken when, after the Injunction was lifted on March 26th, the buffer zone on the entire distance of the alignment was violated. The picture shows that the highway clearing is inside the CEC mandated 100 metre buffer zone all the way along the alignment and;
- Enforced no administrative orders or issued any notices of violation to the MOWT for failure to comply to the CEC and the environmental requirements laid out in the Act; FFOS will continue to faithfully monitor the Aripo Savannas, to ensure the EMA are not turning a blind eye and the MOWT are abiding all CEC mandated mitigation measures to ensure the protection of the voiceless flora and fauna of this designated Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA).
Forever Yours in Sustainable and Inclusionary Development,
Sincerely, Gary Aboud