Bounty Killa, Mr. Vegas, Queen Ifrica, Spragga Benz and Kabaka Pyramid are amongst the many celebrities that have joined the coalition to protect the Cockpit Country from mining.
The Cockpit Country is a wet limestone forest spanning the parishes of Trelawney and St. Elizabeth. It is home to many endemic plants and animals such as the Jamaican Swallowtail and the Jamaican boa. In the 1700s, the Maroons fled slavery and escaped to the Cockpit Country where they formed communities that were not controlled by the Spanish and British colonists.
So why are the celebs supporting the efforts to stop bauxite mining? Here are five reasons:
- The Cockpit Country covers five watersheds that supply major rivers. The clean water is supplied by the forest and any contamination from mining will threaten an estimated 40 per cent of all Jamaica’s underground water sources.
- The forest includes a large diversity of plants and animals some of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world but Jamaica. The Jamaican government signed the 1992 UN Convention on Biodiversity making a commitment to protect its unique natural resources.
- The Cockpit Country is a historic site. The Maroons used the terrain as tactical advantage over the British in the 18th century. To this day, they still live in communities such as Accompong Town. An annual celebration is held every year on Jan 6 at Accompong in St Elizabeth.
- Known as a research hub. There are many studies conducted and still ongoing on the wide variety of plants, birds, reptiles, mammals, invertebrates and amphibians that call this forest home.
- It was in the Cockpit country that jerk pork originated. That’s right. The Maroons prepared meat for storage without creating smoke that the British military could see. The cultural, biological and geographical significance of the Cockpit country cannot be denied. It is no wonder so many people are fighting to protect this one of a kind forest reserve.