Advocacy group bats for protected access to Bob Marley Beach in St Thomas
An interest group dedicated to advocating for Jamaicans to have access to beaches is calling for the Government to repeal and replace the Beach Control Act of 1956, which it says is outdated.
The Jamaica Beach Birthright Environmental Movement (JaBBEM) says it is full-time that the country benefits from a post-colonial progressive and just law.
JaBBEM says it is concerned by the failure of governments over several decades to enact legislation that guarantees the unfettered rights of Jamaicans and friends of Jamaica to access beaches.
The organisation says it was prompted to make the call arising from reported plans to build a hotel on lands in St Thomas which it claims will result in the loss of access to the Bob Marley Beach in Bull Bay.
It says the move will also displace fisherfolk and prominent Rastafari family members who have lived in the community for more than 50 years.
“The importance of access to beaches and rivers, which constitute part of the Jamaican ecological heritage, cannot be understated,” the organisation stated in a media release.
“Jamaican citizens are often excluded from using most 'hotel' beaches unless they can afford the required hotel stay, which far too many cannot. This is unlike several other regional governments who also depend on tourism yet allow full and unfettered access to beaches and rivers,” it added.
The advocacy group is charging that the government has too often failed to preserve access to these public resources.
That is why it is calling for the law to be changed to uphold access to beaches.
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