Despite the fact that local activists and ordinary Jamaicans continue to fight to ensure that ordinary Jamaicans have access to beaches, a new study shows that Jamaicans have less than 1% access to Jamaica’s coastlines.
The study, which is uninspiring for Jamaican citizens, was conducted by a Jamaican activist group.
A local fisherman whose account was included in a report detailing the problems faced by Jamaicans due to a lack of access to their coastlines says that access to their coast is becoming increasingly difficult. Norris Ascott, age 70, outlines the struggle he is now faced with after being walled off from the beach he has known all his life.
“Me personally have no access to another beach, so we had no choice than to go where they push us, we been occupying that beach for 70 years, those beaches was like our playground,” Norris Ascott disclosed; the elderly man, also revealed that he has to now travel around 10km daily to find another coastline to fish, which amount to him earning less money.
As the report continues, it also points out the complexity of the Jamaican and the Caribbean tourist industry by listing a study by the UN, which shows that 80% of the money earned from tourism leaves the Caribbean, which is a stark contradiction to the notion given that more hotel development boosts local economies.
The report also looked at other spin-offs from locals having access to the coastlines, which include jet ski rides and selling beach clothes to tourists.
According to one of Arsott’s neighbours, “Jet Skis put food on the table. The thing that the government will tell you and these hotels is that they create jobs, they create jobs, but what kind of jobs you’re actually working in a hotel which you will never ever be able to afford, you have all your independent people that did their own independent work and created their jobs that have lost those jobs.”
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