Residents of the Cockpit Country, local environmentalists and geologists are in agreement that the Cockpit Country regions need to be protected. The area’s water and wildlife resources are not only critical to sustain the environment and livelihood of the Cockpit, but are valuable for all of Jamaica. The rivers and aquifers supply the Cockpit and the rest of Jamaica with around 40% of its freshwater, and the Cockpit is home to many of Jamaica’s endemic species of birds, lizards, butterflies and insects.
There is general consensus from the residents that eco-tourism would be a boon to the region. The residents are also in agreement that a level of sensitivity and balance to the type of growth that is best for the area, to ensure that the area is not ‘misused’.
Bauxite mining is seen as the antithesis of this balanced growth: 95% of residents polled are vehemently against mining in the region. The most common reasons cited are that it will destroy the natural resources that the community depends upon, including wildlife and watersheds. The health of the community members will also be compromised.
One stakeholder pointed out that the challenges would be ensuring that the region be protected from overdevelopment thus causing a loss of the very thing we would need to highlight and expose.
The Cockpit Country is made up of several distinct communities, each of which offers a unique window onto Jamaican culture. Some of the main regions include, Accompong, Flagstaff, Windsor, Wait-A-Bit/Litchfield, and Sherwood Content. Many of these centers are located close to the Cockpit interior, while others can be reached via a 2-3 hour drive.
Floyd Palmer, Wood Carver Wood carver Floyd Palmer of Marron Town, St. James, credits his influences to the lizards, owls and frogs he’d catch and release as a child. His [...]