Black Jamaicans Not Entitled To Leisure

Well, I have hardly written about this vexed issue of beach access – but I believe Jamaican citizens do have a right to enjoy their beaches – it is their birthright. This issue, that Professor Carolyn Cooper tackles here, keeps coming back and it bothers many Jamaicans – it’s like a sore that is never really healed. Having read a social media post about Fort Clarence Beach – a public beach that although not very beautiful and often windy, was still a nice relaxing place to hang out – I wondered why on earth you now have to pay $1,000 (a tidy sum for many Jamaicans) to go there. The cost of fried/steamed fish has reportedly soared. There is so much more to say on this topic. We will get back to it, no doubt, as it’s not going away any time soon (Professor Cooper didn’t mention Little Dunn’s River, which is currently in limbo).

Jamaica Woman Tongue

Carlton Reynolds posted this wishful comment on The Gleaner’swebsite in response to my column, “Racial politics in Jamaica,” published on August 28: “I hope you will not be allowed to write this column again, you are a very irresponsible woman obsessed with the past and using it to create hatred and division.”

No wonder history is not a compulsory subject in Jamaican schools! It seems as if some of us are afraid of the lessons of the past. We refuse to acknowledge the fact that so many of our current social problems are the direct legacy of our brutal history. Our society was founded on the sustained abuse of enslaved Africans. Their sole value was their labour, both skilled and manual, that was forcibly used to create wealth for white plantation owners.

“View of Trinity Estate, St Mary’s, from James Hakewill’s Picturesque tour of the island of…

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3 thoughts on “Black Jamaicans Not Entitled To Leisure

  1. Hopefully the $1000 is to make improvements?
    I fully understand what you are saying. Beaches are a part of JA, they are not man made. Our people should be able to relax where they want as long as they take their rubbish away with them.
    I remember once staying at one of the resorts and a man had a business at the far end of the beach, you could not cross the beach to use his facilities, you had to go a distance wading through the waters to get to him. All because he would sell his family business that had been handed down to him to the resort. Shameful. You can bet that was the last time I stayed in a resort. All my holidays from then have been guest houses owned by Jamaicans.


    1. Dear Carmen: yes this is a really troublesome issue that, to me, highlights the inequalities in our society. I am glad that you turned towards a home grown tourism product that will directly benefit Jamaicans!


    2. Dear Carmen: Thanks so much for your comments. Yes, our beaches are our birthright and part of the island we love. I feel uncomfortable about situations like that at holiday resorts. Yes, there are plenty of really nice Jamaican-owned guest houses and villas to choose from. Community tourism has not fully developed here but it is always an option too. It’s sad, really – something I hate about the “mass market” tourism model is how it highlights the inequalities in our society. I hate to see security guards ordering regular Jamaicans about on a beach that they should be able to use and enjoy. Thanks again. PS I am not sure what the $1000 is for (to pay a life guard?) but I do know that it would be prohibitive for ordinary Jamaican families to enjoy a day at the beach…


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