ENVIRONMENTAL lobby group Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) has filed a private complaint at the Environmental Commission against the Ministry of Works over the construction of the Cumuto to Manzanilla highway.
The direct private party action was filed last Wednesday, and complaints of violations to the certificate of environmental clearance (CEC) for the construction of the highway extension from Cumuto to Manzanilla, along the southern boundary of the Aripo Savannas.
The complaint also alleges breaches of requirements set out in the Environmental Management (EM) Act of 2000.
In a statement, FFOS’ secretary Gary Aboud said the group also wrote to Environmental Management Authority (EMA) managing director Hayden Romano yesterday, asking that the regulatory body exercise its statutory jurisdiction and seek injunctive relief at the commission to stop “the ongoing and continuous illegal bulldozing of the forest within the established buffer zone.”
According to the FFOS’ complaints, the group alleges that the ministry has failed to comply with several of the CEC’s requirements as it relates to the buffer zone.
Quoting from section 4(4.3) of the CEC, FFOS says it mandates that the ministry had to “maintain a vegetated buffer at least 100m wide along the periphery of the entire site, especially along the northern, eastern and western boundaries”.
The FFOS also complains that the ministry failed to comply with section 2.2 of the CEC to apply for a new CEC if there are modifications to the project.
In addition to accusing the ministry of violating the 100-metre buffer zone and the new alignment of the project, FFOS also criticised the EMA for remaining silent on that matter.