Economic Potential of the Hub: A Critique

This symposium on the Logistics Hub has been extremely instructive because the information presented has addressed some of the fears and uncertainties I had prior to this event; but the more we learn the more questions we still have.

I sense an underlying fear in many peoples’ minds that the logistic hub project will perpetuate a historical pattern of foreign investment in export activity that is unfriendly to the environment and does not benefit the ordinary Jamaican. I think the fear reflects the reality of the historical impact of the sugar, bauxite/alumina, tourism and manufacturing industries on the environment and on working people.

Sugar plantations required the cutting down of the forests, and with that, the habitat of some of our fauna. It was based first on slave labour, and then on low-paid labour. By definition, no wages, and then low wages, meant that the working people were poor, and many of them destitute.

Bauxite/alumina has been notoriously hard on the environment. It is even unpatriotic to talk about what it has done to the soil, the air, and the underground water resources; but the mined-out areas and mudlakes are there as scandalous testimony to environmental abuse.

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