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'Desecration' of Negril Beach

Published:Thursday | April 8, 2010 | 12:00 AM
A section of the famous Negril beach.

The Editor, Sir:

For the last five years, I have been a faithful, annual, sometimes even bi-annual visitor to your exquisite island. When I'm stressed with work, I escape to a daydream where I'm frolicking in the warm, calm waters of Negril Beach, the sun kissing my shoulders as I feel the soft, fine, white sand between my toes. Negril Beach is my idea of heaven. But on my last two trips to your island, it was heartbreaking to find that the perfect beach had changed.

Where once the calm, clear turquoise waters used to lap gently upon the shore, now there are waves, currents, and water that was murky from a constant churning of sand and seaweed. How could a change like this have occurred over the course of two years? What happened to the beautiful, tranquil waters of Negril Beach?

As I was shoved around in the water by waves and currents, struggling to find sure footing while trying to avoid attacking seaweed and leaves, a jet ski rental person drove right up to me in the shallow water on his jet ski and asked if I wanted to rent his vehicle. Exhaust fumes filled my nostrils, the roar of the jet ski engine deafened me, and so many waves were created by this one jet ski that I struggled to keep my head above water.

So many waves from that single jet ski, with so many jet ski advertisers driving in the shallow waters of the beach non-stop all day long, it is no surprise that the entire beach is transformed from quiet calm to noisy turbulence during jet ski rental hours. The jet ski is the culprit!

I am writing this letter to you dear editor because I care about this beach and was stricken to see how it has changed by this new race of jet ski advertisers who think that it's OK to drive their jet skis around sea bathers in the shallow waters just to get us to rent their vehicles. The jet ski rental industry is changing the face of Negril Beach. If you need proof, just go to Negril before the jet ski workers open for business - before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. - and you'll see what Negril is really supposed to look like. For those of you who think that the beach is supposed to get rough during the day, wait until there's a passing shower that stalls jet ski advertising. Even 15 minutes with no jet skis on the water send it back to placid, lake-like conditions.

May I suggest that the Jamaican Tourism Board or some body of the government intercede? Set a distance away from shore for jet ski driving and prohibit jet ski cruising close to shore. Disallow jet ski rental businesses from advertising in the water around sea bathers. They can advertise on land via beach signs, hotel flyers, and word of mouth. This practice of advertising at sea is unsafe for sea bathers, it causes too much noise and air pollution, and produces excessive turbulence along the entire seven-mile length of the beach that the jet ski workers traverse on their vehicles.

These jet ski advertising practices cannot continue without being detrimental to the tourism industry. Tourists can find other beaches in the Caribbean where there is no jet skiing close to shore to affect sea bathers. If Negril doesn't hold up it's end of the bargain, tourists will cease to flock there.

Above all, preserve this exquisite gift of nature for Jamaicans. Young Jamaican children should be able to play and learn to swim in the naturally calm, clear waters of Negril Beach, not the wicked waters created by jet skis. I encourage you to do what needs to be done to reclaim what God blessed you with. Get rid of this jet ski pestilence at sea.

I am, etc.,


Silver Spring