Fri | Dec 8, 2023

Cooper is right about public beach access

Published:Monday | March 2, 2020 | 12:15 AM


I stand with Gleaner columnist Dr Carolyn Cooper who, for years, has consistently kept the issue of public beach access and other environmental issues at the forefront in the news.

Leisure is an important part of life. Growing up as a child, I recall that our parents took us on regular beach picnic excursions from Gunboat Beach to Hellshire and Fort Clarence. Occasionally, we went out of town, to places like Dunn’s River, and Flamingo Beach in Falmouth.

We also did outings to Rockfort Mineral Bath, and longer country getaways were always a must during summer breaks. These were always fun family leisure events; a time to chill, relax and unwind. These trips helped to shape our personal growth and well-being, and develop a greater appreciation for Jamaica.

More leisure spots and scenic green open spaces could help people to detox and de-stress, which could possibly help to bring down the escalating crime rate. Our people have become too aggressive, impulsive, angry and violent. Culture and sports are other outlets easily available for leisure and relaxation.

Our public beaches have become far and few. Travelling around the Caribbean, beach access isn’t as limited as it has become in Jamaica. I believe public beaches could be financially viable, with concession stands and optional fees for facilities such as lockers, beach chairs, etc.


Our beaches could also provide gainful employment to some. The same way we maintain a public park, we should be able to maintain public beaches.

While growth in tourism is commendable, we can’t sell off everything just for profit. Jamaica has numerous hotels, but most are owned by foreign companies. Hotel workers are paid low wages, and profits from the industry don’t stay in Jamaica, if at all it gets here. This explains why, despite tourism growth, our economy remains sluggish and the supply of foreign currency cannot meet demand, hence the daily devaluation.

Both international airports are leased to foreign companies – apparently we don’t have the local skills. We should encourage foreign investment, yes, but we can’t sell off all that is inherently Jamaican, especially our land, and our soul.

We’re heading down a slippery slope in terms of development, without better planning and strategy.